Thursday, September 01, 2005

A little payback is good for the soul

As I have pointed out in a previous post, my mind tends to segue around from topic to topic rather fast. Today when I was driving I somehow started thinking about a story I read years ago about a man who was being sued by Jerry Falwell. It's the kind of story that you read and think, "Man, I wish I had thought of that." We all go through life wanting to strike back at the people who irritate us but few people ever really do. This guy did.

It happened back in the 80's, when personal computers were still only owned by uber-geeks, which is to say that I didn't own one because, despite playing Dungeons and Dragons and reading comic books, I also frequently had sex. With other people. Girls. Really.

This guy... this genius.... went to visit his mother one day and discovered that she had been watching the Rev. Jerry Falwell on television quite a bit and had decided that the good Reverend needed her help (since he was always asking for it). So, she sent the good Reverend $1500. Now, that's not so bad except that she didn't have hardly any money and back in the 80's $1500 was enough to buy a house.

The son decided to get even.

He had a computer and he had a modem, back when only computer science nerds even knew what a modem was. The Rev. Jerry Falwell had a prayer line. People would call in for guidance and along the way get hit up for a donation.

The prayer line was toll-free.

So, the nerd set up his computer to call the toll-free number around the clock, hanging up each time a connection was made. Within a week he had racked up a shit-load of charges. So many ($10,000?) that Falwell took him to court.

I don't know what happened after that but I've always liked that story.


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