Have you ever put on a hoarse voice, coughed and blown your nose to get a day off work?
I once put on a knee brace to get out of an exam, then wore it on the wrong knee to the make-up exam. Nobody cared. Really, as long as you turn up often enough, nobody ever cares.
Another time I rang up from my car, while looking at the surf, to tell work I was sick. After I hung up, I realised that I shouldn’t have sounded so happy, but still nobody questioned me.
Now I work for myself, and it’s much harder to convince myself when I’m sick and I know I’m lying. It’s not so hard when I’m hungover, otherwise known as Saturday to Wednesday.
That’s nothing compared to a British man who pretended to be a quadriplegic and sometimes in a coma for two years to avoid prosecution.
He was only caught after police filmed him driving and strolling around supermarkets.
This is extremely disappointing. I feel like right here, the police have let down every single one of us.
What they should’ve done is followed him to the supermarket and forcibly thrown him out of the wheelchair in front of horrified onlookers, and poured putrid substances on him until he stood up for the fraud he is.
It’s why YouTube was invented.
A friend of mine used to be a workplace injury investigator, and she’d follow people around and take photos of them playing golf, running…one guy even lifted a cow. All claimed to have back injuries.
So this bloke named Alan Knight of Swansea in Wales stole $64,000 from an elderly neighbour with Alzheimer’s disease. Who might also be faking, because the neighbour managed to remember that the money was missing.
Okay, that was a poor joke. Alzheimers is no joke.
Well, its sufferers are no good at telling jokes, because they never remember the punchline.
Stop picking on people with Alzheimers you say?
Why should I? It’s not like they’re going to remember who offended them.
Judge Paul Thomas Kent said Knight was “a very accomplished and determined actor.”
Bullshit. Knight was caught not acting.
Daniel Day-Lewis. He’s a committed and determined actor. Nobody has ever once doubted that he’s a lunatic.
Tom Cruise. No explanation necessary.
In local news of someone taking a sick joke too far, Elle Edmunds, a mother of six from Lake Macquarie in NSW, committed fraud when she lied about having cancer.
She’s been raking in donations for months, then a man believed to be her partner posted to Facebook that she didn’t have cancer.
Bit of a worry when Facebook has become our most trusted news source.
So the police are investigating. Hopefully this time when they’re ready to make an arrest, they can think up an appropriate YouTube worthy stunt rich with public humiliation and hilarity.
So with these two fraudsters, despite the reprehensible nature of their actions, I think there’s a little part of all of us who thinks, “Good on you for having a crack.” In a society where big business gets away with billions in theft all the time and we constantly are paying unnecessary and illegitimate fees and charges, where most of us feel trapped by a system designed to take from those with the least and give it to those who already have too much, anyone who can buck the system deserves at least a little nod.
There is no excuse for what these people did. They’re abusing the finest parts of human nature. The effect is that people burnt by their crimes, and those of us who read about them, are possibly less likely to trust those who legitimately need help.
Too bad these people didn’t just steal money from big business and then hand it people with real ailments. Then we’d have a lot more trouble admonishing them.
As for my own indiscretions?
I’m completely okay with it. As I said, nobody cared at the time, and I’m guessing now years later, they care even less.
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian
For speaking engagements, comedy performances, writing assignments and all other enquires: firstname.lastname@example.org