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Rumors of being stranded in the Philippines are highly exaggerated
by James Snyder
11/22/13
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It was my birthday and I decided to celebrate it as low-key as possible. I am at that stage in life where I really do not need presents from anybody reminding me of how old I really am. I know every present represents an obligatory return on the gesture and at my age, I do not have the energy to return anything.

All I really need is just a friendly “Happy Birthday.” I have developed a special rule along that line. For every “Happy Birthday” I receive, I am allowed one slice of birthday cake. So far I am on my 19th birthday cake and anticipating more.

The rule about saying “Happy Birthday” is that as long as there is a six-month period either way, it is still in play. I am looking forward to a lot more “Happy Birthday” greetings.

After all, what do you get a person who has had as many birthdays as I have had that would be original and surprising? Believe me, I have enough ties. Of course, cash is always in good taste.

Throughout the years I have been known to pull a few surprises on the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage’s birthday but nobody has been able to reciprocate.

That is, until recently.

It was the day of my birthday when suddenly I began receiving emails and phone calls and they all had one theme. Not one of them was wishing me happy birthday but all were concerned about an email they allegedly received from me.

According to this email, I was in Manila, Philippines on some mission trip.

Actually that was not quite unusual because several years ago I did go on such a trip and most of my friends knew it. Now, according to this friendly email being sent to my friends, I was back in the Philippines on another mission trip.

According to this anonymous friend, I was stranded in the Philippines. I had been robbed, my passport had been confiscated, and I needed money to get out of the Philippines. No wonder I have been feeling tired lately!

Of all the birthday presents a person might receive this one really beats the birthday cake. I would not have thought of this in 1 million years.

My email account had been hacked into and all of my email contacts were sent what seemed to be an emergency email. Most of my friends were relieved to find out that I was not stranded in the Philippines.

My Korean publisher actually was willing to put up money to rescue me from my situation. Two other people were trying to find out how to get money to bail me out.

The thing that worries me along this line is of all of my friends only three were willing to bail me out financially. I must make a mental note of this and never get stranded in the Philippines.

My birthday hacking became a little more than I at first thought.

At first it was a little joke, ha ha ha, I am really not in the Philippines. A joke can only go so far. I thought it was the end of the joke, but boy, was I in for a wonderful birthday surprise.

My entire email account had been compromised and a new email address was inserted so all of the response would go to another person. I finally found out how he changed my account, changed it back and changed my password.

All of my emails for the past month, including important ones from my publisher and agent, were lost in the mysterious world of the Internet. Somewhere in that mystifying world, my emails are floating around not knowing whither to cometh or goeth.

Delving deeper into my birthday hacking present I discovered that although my email contacts were missing, where I once had over 600 email contacts, I now had exactly none. How do you deal with “none”?

I now do not know who my friends really are. Their addresses are gone. How do I contact them?

I am beginning to think this birthday hacking present is not all it is hacked up to be.

Now, my post birthday activity will be salvaging all of those email contacts. I suppose it is good every once in a while to start over again. I guess there is something good about getting a fresh start in life. I have often thought of it myself but never in this context.

I would like to know who my birthday benefactor really is. I would like the opportunity to properly and fully acknowledge and express to this person my true feelings about him face-to-face, and not on Facebook. After all, “thank you” does not always say it.

I think I now appreciate Joseph’s feelings towards his brothers who caused him so much trouble.

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20 KJV).

I am still looking for the good in this situation. For one, I am not stranded in the Philippines without any money. I am at home without money, but that is a different story. Although he hacked my email account, he did not touch my soul.

A rumor can never hurt you if you really know the truth.


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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