Tuesday, 23 October 2007
As ye sow...
I had a very interesting lunch yesterday. J Cosmo Newbery and I went to the city and had lunch with Brazilian pilot, Gustavo, his wife Helena and their young daughter, Karen.
So why was this so special? Well, we had never met these people before, you see.
But many years ago, a seed had been planted...
Cosmo had a period in his life, prior to his poetry efforts, where he spent his idle moments teasing Nigerian conmen. On his site, Sweetchillisauce, he records an amazing string of correspondences he had with these guys. Most people on the internet have met up with the Nigerian Scams; you get an email that offers you amazing amounts of money if you help in a rather dodgy financial deal. Sadly people do fall for the story and it is a multimillion dollar business. For more information see Cosmo's Nigerian Scams FAQ and his Scam Test.
So, how did this lead us to be having lunch with Gustavo and his family?
Gustavo had visited Cosmo's site, read the letters, and decided to try his hand at teasing these guys too. With considerable success, it appears. As he happened to be in Melbourne on holiday he contacted Cosmo, hoping to have a chat.
Now, anyone who deals with lots of money, the way the Nigerians do, is likely to be dangerous. Think Mafia. Think mobs. Think danger. I think Cosmo took me along as protection! Certainly Gustavo knew that danger may have crossed Cosmo's mind - he offered to meet him in a police station! As it was, we opted for a Chinese restaurant.
My point in all this? It's over 10 years since Cosmo first got up the courage to write to a Nigerian scammer. Nothing crossed his mind at the time to suggest that it may result in striking up a friendship so many years later.
Robert Louis Stevenson said not to judge your days by what you harvest but by what you plant.
But it is truly amazing where things take root sometimes.