A Case of Mistaken Identity

It’s a funny way that the mind works. Today on the bus, trying to take my thoughts off the mind-numbing annoyance that is transit in the Lower Mainland, my brain farted up the memory of an email I received just after New Year’s 2000. The letter was from a kid in Egypt, and the subject was a case of mistaken identity.

The letter went something like this:

Dear Mr. Brendan,

I’m not making this a formal letter, cuz you’re a cool actor. I love the way you act, and I only watched one movie of yours, which is Encino Man. I loved it! My name is Ramy Mohamed Al-Reedy. I’m a 13 year old boy, living in Kuwait, but i’m egyptian. I study at the Gulf English School.

Looking forward to your reply,

It was cute, but sort of sad. Obviously Ramy had found me by entering “Brendon” (misspelling the actor’s name) and “Fraser” (part of the name of my university, Simon Fraser University) into a search engine. Presto! He found my web site. At the time I received the message, I was still in Anguilla, a tiny island with few people and fewer things to keep me entertained while working on HushMail. It was a moment of entertainment, for sure, but also a little sad.

With heavy heart, I responded to Ramy to explain what had happened. No Virginia, there is no Santa Clause. No Ramy, I am not Brendan Fraser.

In some ways I wish I could have brought myself to lie, to propagate a child’s belief that they can reach out to anyone and that the Internet removes all barriers to communication. So if Brendan Fraser or his agent is out there, drop me a line. I still have Ramy’s email address, and I’m sure he’d be more than glad to hear from you, even after all this time.