I got a fax today from my stepmother in London, England. She’s 74 and living alone since my father’s death in August. Someone has a pretty warped sense of humor over there; it’s not just here. Here’s her fax to me:
“Yesterday, I got a brown envelope with a second class stamp on it. I opened it and inside was a folded white sheet of paper, edges turned down all round. I opened that and found clumpy white powder and the message, “B-o-o-o-o-o you have been anthraxed.” I thought it was a hoax, so I put it back in its envelope. A couple of hours later, I thought perhaps I should tell the police. Phoned police and they said someone would be round. Couple of hours later a big police van arrives and 2 guys in fairly posh sort of uniforms arrive — no white suits or plastic gloves. So I give them the envelope and they look inside and pour the powder into a large plastic bag and say that’s the third they’ve got that day. They are one of 8 units in the capital [London], had come out from the centre to me [in Wimbledon], and most of the units had had 3 or 4 by yesterday afternoon. The powder was “Bold” detergent but he said some people had been very frightened. I said I took it as a joke, but a very stupid one. What a waste of police time. They are all absolutely identical except for the number of o’s — think he was getting tired by the time he got to me! I think they will get him and he will go to prison (under new legislation) for a stupid prank. But people do have to be protected.”
I love it that she’s too smart and strong to be scared by this idiot, even though she is elderly and alone. But she built up her real estate empire completely on her own, and learned to drive and bought a car without telling her first husband. She just drove it on home one day. You can’t keep a woman like that down for long. But I bet many others in the same situation would have been really scared, and you can’t blame them, either. I guess no matter how bad a situation is, there will always be someone mean and/or stupid enough to take advantage of it, whether as what passes for a joke or for their own advantage.