Travels with Dad
—-This is a story of a complex relationship with my father, Al, who I came to love and understand after he was diagnosed with dementia.—-
“I’m going to be rich!”, is what Al was most likely thinking when he got involved, lock, stock, and barrel with mail fraud criminals. He read their promises of making him rich with such child-like belief. He’d call my mother at work and give her the good news…..”I’m going to be a millionaire!”
This involvement by Al was so out of character for him. First of all, getting rich was never a goal of his. Secondly, his MO in life was to operate logically. Getting rich through mail offerings which required him to send money first, would have been considered illogical and ridiculous to him. But somehow, his altered thinking allowed him to slip fully into the hands of the criminals.
When Mom figured out what was going on, she tried to reason with him. She would tell him that these people are swindling him out of money, and there was no way he’d ever see a penny in return. He didn’t believe her. To him, she became a kill-joy, the stealer of his dreams. She was exasperated. Since her interventions weren’t working, she recruited my brothers, Vincent and Paul, to talk some sense into him…to help put an end to their father being a victim and easy target of convoluted and sinister “programs”.
So, after much explaining about this serious situation to them, they sat Al down to convince him that his allegiance and compliance to the “send money requests” was futile. They used intense logic as the foundation for their discussion. It wasn’t working.
Then, Vincent finally asked him a question: “Have you ever received any money back from any of them?” Al thought for a moment, and answered: “No, I’ve never received even one thin dime.” This piece of reasoning finally did the trick.
Al continued to fill out the forms that he received from the thiefs, but instead of sending a check, he sent a little note on a pink piece of paper explaining why no more money was being sent.
This is an actual note written by Al:
He wrote this little message several times on large sheets of pink paper, cut them up into individual notes, and sent them back instead of checks. He also crossed off all of the areas on the forms that identified the dollar amount that he was supposed to send.
When it was all over, my mother mustered up the courage to figure out how much money was “stolen” from Dad. She arrived at a figure of about $1000.00. Al’s disease continued to progress, and this insanity would have stopped on its own. But, without the successful intervention from Vincent and Paul at that critical time, there’s no telling to what extent Al’s cooperation, compliance, and misjudgment would have been capitalized on and violated. I avoid entertaining the possibilities, and without having a criminal mind, I’m not sure I could ever anticipate their next moves anyway.