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stop me if you've heard this one
Raehan seemed a bit curious about me "gettin' my ass in a crack" with a Yahoo! entrepreneur. As my friend Deb said: "These things don't happen to EVERYBODY, you know." Therefore, I digress.

About 6 months into being single, I started running chat rooms for entertainment. No AIDS there, so to speak, and I could explore the "single world" without having to leave the house. I was a Yahoo! girl from the get-go because, well. They had this nifty little deal called ROMANCE : BY LOCATION. Go to a Tennessee room and BAM...instantly there were tons of interested guys within driving distance. Never mind that 80% of them were married and the other 20% were bots or pervs. We're in training here, OK?

I met several guys who were willing and eager and quite not what I was lookin' for. At the time I was real into this stuff, I had a mad crush on a real life guy , but I was scared to talk to him about it. So I acted it out with the Yahoo! guys. Umm.. typed it out, in between bot attacks and awkward meetings with the ones willing to drive to check me out.

As my heart spiraled increasingly out of control toward the real life guy, the Yahoo! fellas must have sensed my vulnerability. There was a Prince of a guy named Fred who claimed to be a native of the UK, but was visiting Nigeria. We chatted a couple of nights and he brought out the "falling hearts" background rather quickly. He would be returning to the States soon and was dying to meet me, his "Princess." OH how he loved me. So much so, that he wanted my address so that he could send me a token of his affection.

Later that week I received a package with a teddy bear and candy and a card that read: " I will never break your heart, as long as you continue to love me too." My babygirl said "WTF??" and I just cried. Because, you see, I had seen Mr. Real Life Crush right before receiving that gift and I just KNEW it was from him.

To make a long story not much shorter, the tokens of affection arrived in droves on another day along with e-mail requests from Fred to gather up the goods and send them to him in Nigeria. He e-mailed me a pre-paid UPS shipping label to "paste onto the box". There was, umm....a cellphone, a digital camera, several pairs of shoes ( size 13 Nike flip-flops included, for running through the jungle ) and several more shipments that got stopped before they arrived. Fred became highly agitated when I told him I was sending the stuff back to the companies and to leave me the HELL alone. Here came the law, enter stage left.

The investigator said he'd never heard of such a scam, but the UPS guys were wise to it when I asked 'em about it. They had heard of this game. They all told me to keep the stuff and forget it, but Fred continued to threaten me by e-mail and IM. "You will be sorry if you don't send me those things" he said. Fred got deleted from my "buddy list" and I paid 15 bucks to return the hot merchandise. End of story, right?

Nah. Y'all know me better than that. A few weeks later, I got an Internet Relay Call at work. ( Shut UP. Yes ,I gave him my work #!) I didn't have a clue what was up, but caught on quickly when the gooey talk commenced from the operator. "Hello, Princess! Where is my stuff?" No response from Poops. It only took about a minute for Fred to give up, and the AT&T operator explained to me what an Internet Relay Call is and how it's used mostly for fraud. It's a service that was originally set up for deaf people to communicate with hearing folks by dialing into an internet connection, typing a message for the operator to relay to the hearing person and then typing back the spoken response to the hearing impaired typist. That operator earned a gold star in her crown by explaining things to me that day. She gave me the e-mail addy of a Secret Service agent to whom I should immediately report this drama. Which I did... Homeland Security and all that. I'm sure she had a great laugh when she told the story that night at the bar.

Thus endeth my Yahoo! chatroom days. That crush never went away, though.

Go figure.
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