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December 06, 2002

Revisionist History on the Web

I love reading stories on the Web. One of my favourites is the one about the guy who cashed a fake promotional direct-mail cheque for $95,000. To his surprise, the cheque cashed, and the mad dash by the bank to get the money back is a great story.

I was looking for this link in my bookmarks to post here, and I couldn't find it. Not surprising, since I first read the story in the mid-late 90's, and my bookmarks don't always survive the transition from country to country and system to system. (For side-discussion: is a person's bookmark list the the modern equivalent of a CD collection as a discriminant of personality?) So searched for it on the web, and after a while, came up with the link above.

Funny thing is, the story differs in several details from what I remember. From when I read it the first time, the broad details are the same: man banks fake cheque, much hilarity ensues. But I distinctly recall the guy did it deliberately as a joke (and for curiosity), but now claims he was going to the ATM anyway to bank some other cheques, and slipped this one in on a whim. He was a student as I read it last; now he claims he had a burgeoning speaking career at the time. The newspaper coverage detailed in the current story had no mention in the older version. I suspect that either: there's been some Soviet-style revisionism over the years to make the story more palatable (and he seem less culpable); or it's not even the same guy, and a story has been appropriated for his own use. In any case, it's a good example of how objective truth morphs subjectively over time.

Posted by jay at December 6, 2002 04:27 PM | TrackBack
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