The Greatest Cock ‘n’ Ball Swindle

It is funny timing coming after my ‘Princess Tina Yak’ post that Theodore Dalrymple should write this for the Salisbury Review. As always he finds a clever way to link the apparently mundane to wider political implications. He writes: “If people try to swindle me, the least they can do is be charming about it.
Today, for example, I had an e-mail from Miss Lea Edem.
   With all due respect (she wrote) I want you to read my letter
   with one mind and help me. I am Lea Edem the only daughter
   of late Mr. and Mrs. Edem.My late father was a very wealthy
   cocoa dealer in Lome Togo before he was poisoned to death
   by his business associates on one of their outing to discuss a
   business deal.
Miss Eadem, whose mother ‘died when she was given birth to me,’ was the
sole heir of $5,000,000. Her father appears to have told her on his deathbed
that he had been poisoned for his money and that she should ‘seek for a
foreign partner in a country of my choice where I will transfer this money.
She continues:
   Dear I am honorably seeking your assistance… to make
   arrangement for me to come over to your country to further
   my education and to secure a residential permit for me. I want you
   help me not because of the 30 percent I want to offer you but to
   take me as your adoptive child and take good care of my life.
I was so charmed by this, and so professionally curious as to the poison
employed by the late Eadem’s business associates, that I almost replied –
though not with my bank details, of course, I wasn’t quite as charmed as
that. I suppose that, if the charming Miss Eadem sends a million such
e-mails, she will find someone to swindle: and I almost said good luck to her.
On the other hand, I received through the post a letter from my bank
informing me that the proceeds of a US cheque had been paid into my US
dollar bank account. So inestimable are my services for those for whom I
write that the cheque was for $225. Of this princely sum, my account was
credited with $197. It not only took several weeks to arrive, then, my money,
but more than a tenth of it had disappeared on its lengthy journey through
cyberspace, at approximately three miles an hour.
Technical progress, then, appears to have slowed everything down – except
for the swindlers, of course. They are as fast-footed as ever. And I prefer
Miss Eadem to my bank. At least she swindles honestly, as well as with
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