by Marjorie Brody
It can be a statement of admiration when someone emulates you. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so they say. It’s a very different situation when someone steals your identity, empties your bank account, maxes your credit cards, and pretends to be you while buying appliances at
various stores with your stolen checks.
It took me three years to resolve that chaos. One of the lingering problems is that our State refuses to issue a new driver’s license number even if someone steals--and continues to use--your old license.
I thought I had gotten over that theft. Thought I’d never have to go through something like that again. Then, last week, someone stole checks I sent in the mail to pay bills, altered them, and tried to cash them. Result? Once again, I had to change my banking account.
It’s taken me days and days of full-time work notifying direct depositors and direct payees of my new account number, making police reports, working with the fraud department of the bank to monitor activity on outstanding checks and checks that weren’t received by addressees. Paper work is piling up. My time is being gobbled away. It’s hard not to feel resentful.
But resentment gets me nowhere.
I take a break from my lengthy list of required calls and sit in the “blue room” in our home. Water flows down the rock fountain outside and splashes into our patio fish pond. The sound of cascading water seeps through the windows and soothes me. Guitars and books surround me. Across the room, I see a wooden wall plaque given to me by a colleague that says, “Your story matters.”
I think about the people who act without concern for the impact of their behavior on others, and wonder what their story is. Surely they have one. Every writer knows that even the villain sees him/herself as the hero of his/her own story. It’s not that I’m turning the other cheek—I will certainly press charges if the perpetrators are caught—but I refuse to let the perps steal who I am. They may steal my financial identity, make my fiscal life hell, but steal my heart and soul? No way!
So, whatever is going on for you this holiday season, I hope you’re holding on to who you are. Your story—and you as an individual—matters. I wish you the very best and I’ll speak with you next year.
P.S. Crime Stoppers did catch that first thief—who looked nothing like me and even though I have “Check photo ID” written on my credit cards, store clerks never looked.
Marjorie Brody is an award-winning author and Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her short stories appear in literary magazines and the Short Stories by Texas Authors Anthology and four volumes of the Short Story America Anthology. Her debut psychological suspense novel, TWISTED, was awarded an Honorable Mention at the Great Midwest Book Festival, won the Texas Association of Authors Best Young Adult Fiction Book Award and was selected for the Middlesex County College Library list of 2015 Best Reads. TWISTED is available at http://tinyurl.com/cv15why or http://tinyurl.com/bqcgywl. Marjorie invites you to visit her at: www.marjoriespages.com.