Monday, 18 April 2011
I got an email today, via my agent, that really annoyed me.
“Dear Sir, I’m writing to you in regard to my husband Kenny
who has gone through surgery. My husband is a very big
fan of Victoria Coren. I would like to ask if you could please
send him an autographed photo of Ms. Coren. If you could
I know he would be thrilled and I would be forever grateful
to you. Thank You Very Much Sandy”
[and there was a name, Kenny Thrun, and a postal address in New York].
Now why, you might wonder, would this annoy me? How much of an evil old cow am I? Lovely Kenny, big fan of mine, all weak and ailing after surgery, why shouldn’t his kindly wife write for an autographed picture?
Well, as it happens I never send out autographed pictures. I’d feel silly doing it, as if I mistook myself for a proper star. I don’t have any photos to sign. But this email annoyed me because it rang a distant bell. I went back through some old emails from two years ago, and oh look…
“Dear sir, I’m writing to you in regard to my son Kenny
who has gone threw surgery. My son is a very big fan
of Victoria Coren. I would like to ask if you could please
send him an autographed photo of Ms. Coren. If you
could I know my son would be thrilled and his Mom and
I would be very greatful to you. Thank you very much.”
[and there was a name, Kenny Thrun, and the same postal address in New York].
I remembered being a bit surprised by that first email, because why would an American child be a “very big fan” of mine? The only thing I do in America is play poker, which isn’t huge among children. But I couldn’t say no when there might really be an ill child so, not having any photos for signing, I signed some playing cards and sent them back.
And what do you know! Two years later, Kenny’s father (Kenny) has also had surgery, and is also a big fan, and his wife is writing with (oddly?) no mention of the signed stuff I sent before. I had a quick look on Google and found the EXACT SAME EMAIL - only this time not addressed to me - posted on the website of an American model and actress called Carol Alt in 2008. (Try searching the page for “Kenny”.) Poor old Kenny and Kenny, they’ve clearly been having non-stop surgery for years.
My agent wrote back to the recent email from ‘Sandy’ saying it was odd that she hadn’t mentioned us sending stuff previously when her son was ill, and how confusing that they both seem to have had surgery, both have the same name and both are fans of mine. ‘Sandy’ replied, “My Husband had an appendicitis attack and had to have an appendectomy. Two years ago my son had knee surgery.” It remains a mystery which surgery either of them had THREE years ago, when they wrote to Carol Alt.
Neither does it mention the particular ill luck of Kenny senior, suffering this emergency appendectomy in the spring of 2011, so soon after the surgery he had in 2010. What surgery in 2010, you might wonder? I don’t know the specifics. All I know is that after it took place, his open-minded wife Sandy wrote to request a cheering-up autograph from the porn star Dana DeArmond. You’ll find the same email if you scroll down that page, of course. I stopped Googling after that.
Weird, isn’t it? How valuable could it be to accumulate a collection of random autographs addressed to Kenny Thrun? I wouldn’t think you’d get much for that on eBay. Do people who are nicer than me send a proper gift, or money? Is that the idea? It seems a pretty small-scale scam (call me a suspicious old poker player; it is a scam, right? There isn’t really a father and son pair of Kenny Thruns having constant surgery? Sorry, Kenny and Kenny, if there is.) This isn’t even Terence Jolley level. And yet, it’s seedy to cite illness and surgery to get anything, even just an autograph, when it isn’t true. At some level, I’m grudgingly impressed that anyone in the world is so completely un-superstitious.
Me, I’d be nervous of the karma.