Do I Really Look Like a Fish?

Part of me doesn’t even want to write about this. I fear that by bringing this up, especially on the busiest day of the week for Don’t Blink, people may forever look at me differently…literally. Almost two years ago, I wrote about the striking resemblance many folks feel I have to NFL star quarterback Russell Wilson. While I embrace that comparison, there is another one I have heard in my lifetime that isn’t so flattering.

Just this past summer, I saw the movie “Finding Nemo” for the first time. On a beautiful Myrtle Beach evening, I joined Sidney and her family as we sat outside on a big grass field at the Market Common area to watch the film. It was projected on an enormous screen, giving me great close ups of a certain character. As I sat in a lawn chair as hundreds of people around me enjoyed the opportunity to watch a movie outside, I focused in on the fish with short-term memory loss.

So let me ask you a question...do you see a resemblance?

So let me ask you a question…do you see a resemblance?

In high school, I had a football teammate who good-naturedly told me I looked like Dory, the blue fish from “Finding Nemo.” He was pretty much convinced that I was the Disney star minus the fins and gills. He would even call me Dory instead of my actual name. I didn’t think too much about my likeness being compared to a female cartoon fish and forgot about it over the past ten years.

Here is a profile shot of the two of us.

Here is a profile shot of the two of us.

However, now that I actually watched the movie over the summer and with the impending sequel based solely on my animal doppelganger in the works, I decided to revisit this decade-old comparison. The time to do this was perfect on Friday night when Sidney mentioned the “Finding Dory” (set to debut in June 2016) movie to me. I looked her in the eye and asked if she saw any resemblance whatsoever between Dory and yours truly.

“You do kind of look like Dory!” she laughed.

I just don't really see it.

I just don’t really see it.

Not the response I wanted but I do appreciate her honesty. This morning I have scrutinized photos of Dory. What makes her look like me? I get that she has dark marks that might look like my dark hair. But I can’t really see anything else that remotely looks like me. Is it the eyes? The mouth? I would say we have pretty different body types.

So on this Sunday I leave the ball in the court of my readers. Do you feel I bare a resemblance to Dory? More importantly, in what way(s) do I? If you feel the comparison is hogwash and you don’t see how a person could liken my appearance to anyone else besides Russell Wilson you can definitely say that too. Thanks for the feedback. Don’t Blink.

Mid-November Thursday Rundown

Today is significant because it marks the two week countdown until Thanksgiving. Today is also a big deal because it is the Thursday Rundown. As I like to say, let’s get started!

Underwhelming Trump – I have to lead off the rundown by getting this off my chest: my admiration for Donald Trump is starting to wane a little bit. Four months ago, I wrote a post that was complimentary of the campaign he was running. Fast forward to the present and while I still respect what he has done, it has become apparent to me that major substance is lacking. I have watched all the GOP debates and it really seems like he says the same things over and over. He bypasses on the details. He drifts into irrelevancy when he talks about past business deals. Each debate I have watched I have paid close attention to Trump and each time I came away underwhelmed. However, more power to the guy for still leading the polls!

Fritos Chili Pizza One Year Later – As it is the one year anniversary of when I ordered the Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza, I thought I would just state my opinion that I am not surprised that 365 days later no other pizza franchises have followed suit with their own version of it. Despite good intentions, the pizza just didn’t work. Sure the taste itself wasn’t spectacular but the worst part about the experiment was eating a slice the next day. Soggy chips that are then refrigerated never turn out good.

Me holding the Fritos Chili Pizza from Papa John's.

Me holding the Fritos Chili Pizza from Papa John’s.

Two Interesting Documentaries – Sidney bought me an Apple TV for my birthday. Lately I have taken full advantage of the device, watching movies and documentaries. When it comes to the latter, I want to share the names of two decent ones I watched this week. I got a thrill entering the world of sleep paralysis with “The Nightmare.” The film interviews numerous folks who suffer from sleep paralysis while depicting their horrors as they share their experiences. As someone who has had sleep paralysis experiences before, I found it very interesting.

Ever wonder if you have a long lost twin? The documentary I watched last night, “Twinsies,” tells the story of two twin girls who were adopted out of Asia. One went to France and one went to the United States. The French girl happened to see her American twin, who she had no idea existed, on a YouTube video. The two connected and started to Skype. The documentary chronicles the DNA tests that ensued, the endless questions that were raised, and the reunion that took place in Europe.

Another Great Graphic – Last week I shared the stellar Halloween graphic that was made for our Coastal Carolina University social media accounts. This week I want to show off the Veterans Day graphic that was created. Once again, our graphics team did a phenomenal job. Thank you Ron for designing this, it was very well-received by our #CCUSocialMedia audience.

This fabulous Veterans Day graphic was made by designer Ron Walker.

This fabulous Veterans Day graphic was made by designer Ron Walker.

Wedding Update #12 – We are in the process of trying to choose the venue for our rehearsal dinner. Sidney and I want to get our restaurant selected so we can make a reservation and beat out the swarm of engaged couples that will sprout up over the holidays. Best way to make a quality decision? Treat yourself to dinner at each prospective location! Last Friday we ate at Sea Captain’s House, a Myrtle Beach favorite that is on our short list. After we ate we were able to ask questions. To all my Myrtle Beach readers, Sidney and I would LOVE suggestions on other good places to consider. Keep in mind that we want a restaurant that isn’t too far from St. Andrew Catholic Church.

Also, we had our fourth Pre-Cana meeting on Tuesday. We only have one meeting left but that will be on hold next week. Why? Well, our sponsor couple is graciously having us over solely for dinner! The books will be put away as they prepare a meal for the four of us. Sid and I love our sponsor couple!

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Have a great Thursday night! As always, thank you for reading. Don’t Blink.

Twitter Polls

I know when I write about social media I immediately lose probably 50% of my audience who couldn’t care less about whatever new app or new feature I am going to detail. Around 25% are indifferent and will still read what I have to say. The other 25% read my blog solely for the social media aspect. So, as much as I hate to alienate my audience, tonight I am catering to the “social media savvy” 25%.

Twitter recently came out with Twitter Polls. Users can now ask a question and receive an answer that doesn’t make their audience feel like they are overly endorsing an account by retweeting, replying, or liking. Now, Twitter users simply just choose between two choices and fill in the corresponding bubble with their mouse or thumb. The vote is immediately counted and the polls stay open for 24 hours. Once the time expires, voting is closed but the results continue to live on Twitter.

I debuted the feature on our @CCUChanticleer account yesterday. With the date falling on a Teal Tuesday, I asked our audience who was and who wasn’t wearing teal. We received some good news and some bad news. Starting with the bad news, most people WERE NOT wearing teal. When it came to the good news, almost 200 people replied. For the first time using the tool, the participation wasn’t too shabby. It is important to realize that the vast majority of Twitter users don’t even know about Twitter Polls yet.

Unfortunately we didn't have as many people wearing teal as we would have liked.

Unfortunately we didn’t have as many people wearing teal as we would have liked.

Later on in the day I asked a question I had a little more fun with. I quizzed our audience on whether they would rather take a photo with our mascot Chauncey or our brand new bronze statue replica that was installed last month. The real thing won out in a landslide.

Statues are cool but it is all about the real deal.

Statues are cool but it is all about the real deal.

There are limitations to Twitter Polls. You can only offer two options for your audience to choose. You can’t participate in Twitter Polls via third party platforms such as TweetDeck or Hootsuite. Most maddening, you can’t tell who voted. Mind you, I am not just talking about not seeing what side someone voted on, you can’t see who voted in general. As a social media marketer, I would have loved to see the 200 people who voted in our initial poll but I will never know. Of course this anonymity probably encourages participation but it still leaves me wondering.

Do you think I could stay away from trying Twitter Polls on my personal account? Come on now, you know me better than that. The first question I asked was something a third grader would write on a crumpled piece of paper and pass to a classmate. Luckily my self-worth was affirmed by my Twitter followers.

Obviously a quarter of my Twitter audience feel that I am a big jerk.

Obviously a quarter of my Twitter audience feel that I am a big jerk.

The second question I threw to my 1,585 followers centered directly on www.brentreser.com. I think the eight people who responded were just trying to be nice.

BREAKING NEWS: We did a scientific poll and figured out that 6 out of 8 people read Brent Reser's blog!

BREAKING NEWS: We did a scientific poll and figured out that 6 out of 8 people read Brent Reser’s blog!

Then last night as I was watching the latest GOP debate, I thought it would be interesting to offer up the below question. You still have a couple hours left to vote! Can’t say if the majority of the respondents are correct or not!

As of 6:31 p.m. ET, you still have three hours left to vote.

As of 6:31 p.m. ET, you still have three hours left to vote.

Go ahead and try out Twitter Polls. Mention me in the Tweet that is sent out containing the poll and I will make sure to vote myself. Don’t Blink.

Creature Fears

Sidney and I love going to a certain hamburger place in Myrtle Beach. The unique atmosphere, the unlimited peanuts, cold beer, and delicious burgers make it a slam dunk for dinner. About a month ago we had finished our meal and waited for the server to come back to take my debit card. We sat across from each other at our wooden booth, the table and benches covered in layers of ink from people drawing on them over the years. Suddenly, Sidney’s eyes got big and she softly spoke to me, trying to keep calm.

“Baby, there is a bug on your shirt,” she warned.

I started internally freaking out in a way that wouldn’t make a scene at the restaurant. Without looking down at my shirt, I started moving my body in the seat and ruffling my clothing to get it to jump off. I stood up real fast and walked out of the booth to make sure it was not attached to me anymore. When Sidney told me that I was in the clear and I looked down to confirm it, I took a deep breath. We never saw where the bug went. The two minutes that it took for the waitress to pick up my card, run it, and bring it back were very tense.

I hate bugs. I get sick to my stomach thinking about them. What I had on me a few weeks ago was one of the dirtiest species you will ever encounter. Palmetto bugs are giant cockroaches with wings. They are found in the deep south and like to hang out around areas that have a water source such as fountains or hoses. They move fast and are extremely ugly. I won’t even include a picture of one in this blog post because of how much I detest them. The fact that one was on me still makes me shake.

Yes, living in the South you definitely see more bugs. If you thought additional exposure to varying species and quantities of these creatures would heal my hatred for them, you couldn’t be more wrong.

You see more than just bugs living in the southeast though. Just walk outside your door and you are bound to encounter a lizard scurrying past your feet or a frog hanging out in the grass. I have seen a thousand different lizards and many frogs of varying sizes since moving here. No big deal though, they don’t bother me at all. Same can’t be said for my fiancé…

Sidney hates amphibians. Frogs seem to be her worst fear. Just the other night we returned home and on her house right next to the door was a baby frog about the diameter of my thumb nail. She had a tough time just keeping her cool at that sight. Needless to say, you can imagine the traumatizing experience suffered when she walked outside barefoot a few months back and stepped on a full sized frog in her lawn.

Snakes are plentiful in South Carolina also. Just last week one got stuck in a door at Sidney’s school. An aide asked Sid for assistance but she just shook her head and told the aide to call the office. Thankfully for me, the thought of a snake won’t cause me nightmares.

This brings us to our last creature…spiders. These eight-legged guys make both Sidney and I nervous but they don’t reach the level of bugs for me or amphibians/snakes for Sid. Growing up in Washington, we would get black widows attached to our house and smaller spiders in our basement so I think this upbringing cured me of arachnophobia. I am not cured, however, of the paranoia I feel when I see a spider web indoors and I immediately think of what the spider looks like that spun it and where it must be at the moment.

I have a couple other fears that aren’t creature-related but perhaps I will share those in a blog post down the road. If they can produce a story as disgusting as the one at the burger joint, you are sure to hear about it. Don’t Blink.

A Few Cemetery Stories

As many of my readers know, I am a big fanatic of cemeteries. I am interested in not just walking through them but also consuming any news relating to them. Over the past several weeks, I have experienced a new cemetery and also read a couple local stories about events taking place at graveyards as well. For tonight’s post I want to update you regarding my ongoing cemetery education.

Marion Cemetery: The day after Halloween, I went with Sidney and her parents to their hometown of Marion, South Carolina. We attended the Sunday service at the First United Methodist Church where they honored all members of the congregation who passed away during the year. Sid’s grandma, Sis, died in June and a candle was lit for her on that All Saints’ Day morning. After the service concluded, we drove to Rose Hill Cemetery in Marion to view Sis’ final resting spot as well as other members of the Mathis family. It was an organized, quiet area. The history inside the cemetery was great. Many of the departed lived during the 1800’s. After paying our respects at the grandma’s grave (she is buried with her husband), we drove around for a couple minutes and I got to see the grave of Sidney Mathis Jr. (My fiancé is Sidney Mathis IV, my future father-in-law is Sidney Mathis III). Going to the service and visiting the cemetery was a great way to spend the Sunday morning.

I snapped this photo of the tombstone of Sid's great grandparents.

I snapped this photo of the tombstone of Sid’s great grandparents.

Caskets Unearthed: As most of you know, South Carolina experienced terrible flooding this past month. While the non-stop rain impacted many of us still living, it also sadly impacted some of the dead. Two towns in our state, Springfield and Ridgeville, had their cemeteries greatly disturbed by the flooding. Caskets at both locations rose up from the ground. What a grim occurrence for families who had loved ones in those spots. Nothing was harder to watch though than television footage of the coffins floating in the flood waters, drifting further and further away from the graves. I never saw a follow up story but I sure hope all caskets were retrieved and laid back to rest.

So unfortunate. This was one of the caskets in Ridgeville that was unearthed (Photo courtesy of WCBD-TV).

So unfortunate. This was one of the caskets in Ridgeville that was unearthed (Photo courtesy of WCBD-TV).

Putting the Forgotten to Rest: This morning, I read a Sun News article about something called a paupers’ cemetery. For how much I claim to love graveyards, I had not heard about one of these until today. A pauper’s cemetery is a place where unclaimed remains, unknown remains, and the remains of those who don’t have families who can afford a burial are laid to rest. This particular pauper’s cemetery I read about is in Columbia. The article chronicled the burial ceremony the coroner’s office holds a few times each year. At each one of these burials, the cremated remains of around 30 people are laid to rest. It is a very solemn, simple proceeding. Remains are put in what is analogous to a shoe box and placed in a shallow hole. Dirt is shoveled on the box and a tiny rust-colored marker is placed on each grave. It all just feels so depressing to me. However, I have to tell myself that at least something is being done with the remains of these downtrodden people. While I do love cemeteries, I don’t know if I would want to visit one of these.

A photo of the paupers' cemetery in Columbia, S.C. (Photo courtesy of the Sun News).

A photo of the paupers’ cemetery in Columbia, S.C. (Photo courtesy of the Sun News).

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I want to keep exploring and educating myself about cemeteries. As always, if you have any tips for me on where I should visit or what I should read, please let me know. Hope the week is off to a great start for everyone. Don’t Blink.

Sponsoring a Student and Taking a Chance

I have become a broken record stating that the part I like most about my job is interacting with college students on a daily basis. They help me reach my goals for our social media program and I do my best to help them as well.

In an effort to attract more people to their services, especially students, many social media apps have a “college rep program.” The makers of these apps will recruit and train students to grow their social media service on their respective college campuses.

A few weeks ago I met with a student at Coastal named Emily. She had recently become one of these social media reps. However, she wasn’t a rep for one of the many apps that pop up for a few weeks and then disappear. Instead, she signed on with a popular app that has proven to have a little more staying power. I am talking about Yik Yak.

Yik Yak is an app that makes a lot of folks working in higher education very nervous and uncomfortable.

Yik Yak is an app that makes a lot of folks working in higher education very nervous and uncomfortable.

Emily needed my help. Up until our meeting, she was fulfilling her Yik Yak rep duties by catching up with students as they walked to class or entered the dining hall. It was an unofficial, hit-and-miss, guerrilla type strategy. Not that there was anything wrong with what she was doing, it was just that she was limited. She came into my office and asked that #CCUSocialMedia sponsor her.

What does it mean to be sponsored at Coastal Carolina University? It means that a third party individual or group (such as Emily working for Yik Yak) must be backed by an official office on campus. The official capacity watches over the sponsoree and does what they can to help the third party reach their goals. Perhaps the most coveted advantage of a third party that is sponsored by a Coastal entity is that they receive tabling privileges out on Prince Lawn.

Emily Little is a freshman from Mauldin, S.C.

Emily Little is a freshman from Mauldin, S.C.

During her pitch, Emily told me that her goal was not just to “recruit more members for the #CCU herd” but to also clean up our Yik Yak feed. Of course I brought up the Yik Yak Takeover I organized a year ago. I told her it worked great for the day but things went back to normal shortly thereafter. She countered that it would be a project she would be able to focus on for a much longer period of time as opposed to the one day we devoted to it. I then grilled her with questions about her role as a Yik Yak rep. I explained how tough of a decision it was for me to sponsor an individual who is working for a service that allows users to be so openly critical of CCU.

As one final vetting measure, I had Emily come in and talk to our #CCUSocialMedia Student Advisory Group about her plans. They interrogated her with more questions and comments than I did! With the approval of our Vice President for University Communication, I decided to sponsor her. For someone who had gone to great lengths to prove she wanted to help both Yik Yak and Coastal Carolina at the same time, I couldn’t refuse. After all, it was a great PR move. Students naturally think that all college institutions automatically despise Yik Yak. When they see a university actively working with the service, it sends a message of collaboration instead of fear and resentment.

This past Friday, Emily had her first event on Prince Lawn. Offering items such as t-shirts, pens, masks, and extremely popular socks, her table was packed for the full three hours. The merchandise was used to make both Yik Yak and CCU happy as students received the smaller promo items for signing up for the service and the more premium items for sending out positive Yaks.

#CCUSocialMedia was successful in sponsoring Emily, a student rep for Yik Yak.

#CCUSocialMedia was successful in sponsoring Emily, a student rep for Yik Yak.

As with our Yik Yak Takeover, the stream was filled with positivity. However, there was one major difference. Absent this time around was an effort by an unhappy minority to hijack the positive vibes. When we did the Takeover, we received pushback from some who hated the idea of CCU staff getting involved. With this a sole student-driven effort, we didn’t see anyone trying to combat the optimism.

Emily and I at the Yik Yak table on Friday.

Emily and I at the Yik Yak table on Friday.

#CCUSocialMedia tried to help out Emily more than just organizing her table and checking up on her. We devoted Instagram and Twitter posts on our main accounts during the event. I also sent our student videographer out to do a short story on Emily’s efforts. When I asked Emily at the end of the day if she was happy with how it all turned out, she said YES.

Emily's Yik Yak table was packed the whole day.

Emily’s Yik Yak table was packed the whole day.

When it comes to pushing your brand, it is important to think outside of the box. Sometimes this entails working with a rival brand that might seem counterproductive at first glance. We pulled this off by sponsoring someone working for Yik Yak. Of course it wasn’t just “someone working for Yik Yak”…it was one of our students. The fact that we got to help her was the best part of it all. Don’t Blink.

Retiring From Individual Social Media Contests

Last night Sidney and I sat together in the emergency room at Grand Strand Hospital. Her mom had to pay a visit for kidney stones. As we waited, Sidney pulled out her phone. Noticing that she had a Facebook Message she opened it up to read the contents. The message went something like this…

“Yo, hope you are doing well. Could you please click here and ‘like’ my Halloween photo? I am entered in this costume contest and would love your support.”

This request sent Sidney on a small tangent about how she dislikes these random requests, especially from people she barely knows or who she hasn’t talked to in a long time. I heard her out and nodded my head.

Is it just me or does it seem like there are a million of these social media costume contests this year? You know, the ones where you “vote” for your favorite photo by “liking” it. The person who submits the image that receives the most likes receives a lucrative prize. I have seen these contests floating around my newsfeed on a very consistent basis the past several days. I know they provide great content and encourage massive engagement but I am kind of hoping that someone next year introduces a different social media method that rewards great costumes.

But back to the business of this blog post. Why did I just silently nod my agreement with Sidney? Was it because I actually ran a social media costume contest on our @CCUchanticleers Instagram this past Friday? Hardly. I didn’t voice my strong opposition to people begging for social media love because I once ran a big, desperate campaign myself.

Over three years ago I entered a Mother’s Day Facebook photo contest. The image that received the most likes and comments won a getaway prize pack for the mother of whoever submitted the photo. I spent way too much time and energy trying to generate likes and comments for the photo I entered of my mom and I. Trying to do all I could to triumph over the competition, I harassed and pleaded with way too many random Facebook friends to show their support for my photo. Ultimately, I was successful and won my mom the grand prize. (For a way too detailed account of my involvement in this contest, click here).

However, looking back at my effort over 40 months later, I don’t feel much like a social media all-star. Instead, I feel a little embarrassed. Listening to Sidney’s opinion of these “Facebook campaigners” and seeing for myself how desperate people come across when plugging their contest efforts, I think I look a little dumb.

When you enter one of these contests, it becomes the sole thing focus on. It seems like the most important thing in the world and it clouds your judgment into thinking that others do as well. This haziness in the head is what caused me to reach out to people I barely knew, people I had not talked to in a few years, and even people who I didn’t even respect. Sure I won the grand prize and my mom had a wonderful time staying at Northern Quest but I do regret bothering people who didn’t owe me a thing.

I agree with Sidney. Social media contests encourage us to awkwardly reach out to folks we probably shouldn’t. When we take the bait, it doesn’t always portray us in the best light. I am taking my victory from the Mother’s Day contest and retiring from individual social media “liking” contests. Don’t Blink.

Shaming “Experienced” Trick-Or-Treaters

After a couple posts dealing with a serious topic, I wanted to switch gears a little bit. By no means am I saying that what I am about to write about (trick-or-treating) is a trivial topic, I am just saying it doesn’t pull the weight of identity theft.

Last night my sister sent me the below screenshot of someone’s Facebook post. I know none of these people, not the poster nor the sharer. In fact, it looks like this post might be influenced by many more people I don’t know as “Amanda” stated that the bulk of her argument came from another Facebook status that she saw.

This is the post that has inspired tonight's blog. I agree with some of it but not all.

This is the post that has inspired tonight’s blog. I agree with some of it but not all.

The argument is simple enough. Teenagers should not be shamed for trick-or-treating. The original poster recalled a childhood memory from the sixth or seventh grade. She shared that when her planned night of going door-to-door and saying those three magic words was chastised by others, she found herself attending a party instead. The people at this gathering weren’t just watching scary movies and the apple cider had a little kick to it.

This scenario presents a straight forward moral principle. How could any sensible person feel good about contributing to the attendance of a 13-year-old kid at a party because they discouraged a boy or girl from going trick-or-treating? I agree with this Facebook user. Much in the same way as it is not our decision to tell a child when he/she should stop believing in Santa Claus, it also isn’t our call to tell them when to stop trick-or-treating.

However, I do disagree with the second portion of the argument. This user believes that the premium candy should be reserved for the “senior” trick-or-treaters. I don’t go against this thinking solely because it was a longstanding tradition in our house to reward toddlers with a couple candy bars and older kids with a piece of bubble gum. Rather, I am strictly opposed to it because I don’t think it is our job to incentivize teenagers to continue to trick-or-treat. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with telling someone she is too old to go door-to-door on Halloween, I just don’t think it is our duty to take extra measures to keep the high school sophomore out on the neighborhood streets until he graduates.

In most cases it is a good thing when someone graduates from trick-or-treating. It shows the person is maturing, and, most of the time, it is a decision made solely by the former trick-or-treater himself. I think we do a strong disservice to the development of our youth by slowing this process down. But like I have said, if it is not time yet for the person to move on from the spooky neighborhood streets, so be it.

Don’t put down a teenager for trick-or-treating. At that age, they don’t need added humiliation and scolding. When they approach your door greet them warmly and treat them with respect. Just please don’t give them the best candy in your bowl. Don’t Blink.

Follow Up: A Ticket for Tinted Windows in New York (Identity Theft)

I heard the news I didn’t want to be told this morning.

Last night I wrote about the curious piece of mail I received this past Saturday. The envelope I had waiting for me in my box was from the New York State DMV and the enclosed letter said I owed money and an explanation for not making my court appearance for driving with tinted windows in Brooklyn this past August. Obviously I wasn’t driving in New York with tinted windows. In fact, I have never driven a vehicle in the state of New York in my life. I have also never used tinted windows.

My gut told me it was a big scam. The letter was vague and the allegation was ridiculous. However, in the back of my mind I knew it could be a case of identity theft. When I wrote my blog post yesterday, my readers seemed to back up the latter explanation.

This morning I finally got through to the New York DMV. I chatted with a delightful foreign man who delivered me the undelightful news that the ticket was legitimate. He read off my driver’s license number that was recorded with the ticket. At that point it set in that I am a victim of a scheme.

He transferred me to another employee who started the process of helping me fight this. She prepared an Affidavit In Lieu of Appearance Form that I will have to fill out. The form is necessary to excuse my absence from this upcoming court hearing as I obviously won’t be flying out to New York on November 16. The form also lets me plead not guilty and present evidence. I don’t have much time but the process is slow. The lady must send the form through the mail and then I will have to fill it out, compile my evidence, and get it notarized.

I asked the lady on the phone if the officer who issued the ticket would have made a copy of the driver’s license or captured the identity of the driver who used my info on video. She said no to both. The officers in New York are trained to remember the faces of every driver they pull over, she explained, so at my hearing on November 16 the officer should be able to to immediately confirm that it wasn’t me (I have to send in a color copy of my driver’s license with the affidavit).

This whole process is one thing. Getting my identification information out of the hands of a criminal is another. I contacted the South Carolina DMV today to let them know my situation. They said they can’t really do anything in terms of declaring my current license invalid and issuing me a different one with a new number. They said the best they could do is put a certain safeguard on my license where all transactions, renewals, registration acts, etc., must be made in person at the DMV. As of right now, I am in total limbo.

However, I do have faith that this will all work itself out. It is frustrating but there is only so much I can do. I appreciate the well wishes and concerns I have already received from my readers. Life is good and other than this incident my week is off to a great start! Don’t Blink.