Herald Journal Columns
April 24, 2006, Herald Journal

Living the good life in Fiji

By LIZ HELLMANN
This will be my last column.

I will miss you all, but I am moving far away – although I haven’t decided where.

I think I will decide while backpacking through Europe.

But before I get to that, I will be lounging on the beaches of Fiji. In fact, when you read this, I will probably be asking the nice beach waiter to bring me another strawberry daiquiri while I watch the tide change.

No, spring fever has not gotten the best of me, but something wonderful has happened. It is all thanks to a happy little surprise that met me when I arrived at work Monday morning.

As I switched on my computer and logged into my e-mail, I prepared to sort through the accumulation of weekend mail.

It did not start off very well.

First, I received a warning that my ebay account was being used by an unauthorized source.

It’s normal for things to catch you off guard Monday morning, but this one totally blindsided me.

I didn’t even know I had an ebay account, but I certainly didn’t want someone else using it!

So, I did what any responsible person would do, I clicked on the link in the e-mail and filled out all of my financial and personal information, including my social security number, passport information, driver’s license, and birth date – including two deep, dark secrets from my childhood.

They’re not going to confuse me with any “unauthorized” person anymore.

You know, I bet some people just don’t want to take the extra five minutes to fill out all that information, but when it comes to protecting your accounts, even the ones you didn’t know you had, I think it’s a small price to pay for piece of mind.

I also made sure to save the page with all my information under favorites on the public computer I was using, just in case I should need to call up that information at click of a button ever again.

After that little scare was dealt with, I proceeded with checking my e-mail.

People must have worked overtime this weekend, because a prestigious health organization from the East Coast sent me a notice for a prescription drug that will change my life.

I’m not exactly sure what it does, but I met all the criteria: sometimes feel fatigued in the afternoon, have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, sometimes feel stressed or overworked, have shortness of breath when running long distances, and get hungry when going long periods without food.

The organization was looking for guinea pigs to try it out on.

I know, who would want to take a drug that hasn’t been approved?

But it guarantees to fix all of those problems using all-natural herbs.

What could be bad about a drug that cures all that?

If I participate, I get a lifetime supply of the drug for free, and all I have to do is promise not to sue them if something goes wrong.

But the side effects didn’t seem so bad: possibly thickening of the liver, trouble breathing at night, probable damage to the central nervous system, thinning of hair follicles, and jaundice.

Where do I sign? The company is sending a trial bottle over next week.

So far, I’ve cleverly evaded account fraud and found a free way to give me more energy, and it’s not even 9 a.m.

But then, I came into the mother lode, as they say.

At first glance, there was nothing special about the next e-mail. Indeed, I thought it had been sent to me by accident because I did not recognize the name, a Mr. Astrid Lunin from Zurich.

I don’t know anyone in Zurich, or named Lunin. But I decided to open it anyway, and it’s a good thing I did.

It was a notification that I had won the South African 2010 World Cup Global Mega lottery, Sweepstakes International, and free lotto promotion programs!

A hefty sum of $2 million is headed my way right now!

All I had to do is fill out my official claim.

I was a bit skeptical at first, seeing as I had never entered the promotion, and the year 2010 has not occurred yet.

But those were minor details that I worked out when I contacted the company.

I never actually spoke to a person, but the recording that talked at me answered all of my questions before I even asked them.

You see, my e-mail was drawn at random from 100,000 selected from company directories. And since it was a promotional lottery, the real event was in 2010, this was just in promotion of it.

As I entered in my credit card number and social security number, a wave of relief swept over me as I remembered my previous actions to stop fraud on my secret ebay account.

Can you imagine if some identity stealer got my $2 million? You can never be too careful these days.

But the luck doesn’t end there.

After receiving the confirmation of my winnings, I wanted to make sure being rich didn’t ruin my life. I was resolved to use my money to help others.

Opportunity knocked again.

The next e-mail I received was from an elderly gentleman in Pakistan (he asked me to protect his identity). He is trying to use his large inheritance to come to the US to be with his daughters, who were separated from him through a tyranical government scheme.

But he needs my help to supply him with collateral so he can transfer the money internationally.

Then, he will give me a portion of the inheritance. I figured I would fly out and meet him after my Fiji vacation – although the lottery recording said it might take a few weeks to get the $2 million.

All of my friends are telling me I’m crazy and there is no South African 2010 World Cup Global Mega lottery, but who would make that up?

What they don’t know is that I have a secret.

Even if the lottery doesn’t come through, I’ve found a way to earn $20,000 a month from home with a marketing group. I get to set my own hours and work as little or as much as I want.

I’ll radio you from Fiji and tell you all about it.

(Author’s note: This column is sarcastic, and plays upon the annoyance of junk e-mail. I do not share my personal information over the Internet nor on the phone, and advise others not to, as well. This is also not my last column, so please put the party favors away.)


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