On Saturday an interesting article ran in the Good Weekend about Munchausen By Internet....
I was discussing this phenomenon on Twitter with a couple of friends, Kate Hunter and Kylie Ladd. All three of us were deploring those people who lied online to gain sympathy and attention, and who made money under false pretences from the innocent and the gullible.
We chatted for a while and then Kate had to go as her prosthetic arm was aching. She had never mentioned it before (and, interestingly, it is not evident in her photos) but apparently her actual limb was amputed by a shark some time before. Very subtly, Kate mentioned that she needed a new prosthesis, and - without being at all pushy - that all donations were welcome, and that she accepted EFTPOS.
Well, I was flooded with sympathy for Kate, and considered sending her lots of money. However, I felt just slightly resentful, because it seemed hardly fair that Kate was whingeing about just having one limb amputated when I am completely limbless and am forced to type with my teeth. Obviously I have never brought this up before, because I really don't want to people feeling sorry for me. However, I figured that if we were finally being honest about our situations then it was time for me to be upfront about my own. And besides, my wheelchair desperately needs an update, so if people have spare cash to send my way, it would be very much appreciated. And I take bank cheques.
Kate didn't seem all that sympathetic. "Well did the shark gobble your entire family like it did mine?' she asked. "As well as your best friend? Who was PREGNANT?" Helpfully, she added that she accepted Paypal. That was good news.
Then Kylie chimed in. "At least you guys have your sight," she said (or something along those lines, I was still reeling from the news about the poor pregnant gobbled girl). "I'm blind and am tweeting from memory!" Wow. I had no idea. I mean, I've know Kylie for nearly two years now, and admittedly we haven't met in person, but I had no idea she was vision-impaired. "Please send cash," she continued.
Well that did it. Why should I continue to try to be brave when everyone else was just throwing out their sob stories and begging for money???
"Only blind?" I tweeted. "Lucky you. I'm blind AND deaf and am tweeting by sense of smell! And all donations gratefully accepted."
Kate, clearly wishing to change the topic (no doubt because it wasn't about her), decided to share her blog with us all. "It's called TheViewFromMyIronLung.blogspot.com," she tweeted. Oh please.
She wants sympathy? The woman doesn't know how lucky she is. I dream of living in an iron lung. My lung is made of cardboard, you know. It's highly flammable. I could burn down at any minute.
And if you want to send money my way, I'll be sure to forward you a receipt.