There are those among us who are so personable, so magnetic, that they inspire a completely unwarranted level of trust in those with whom they come into contact. The people around them practically trip over themselves to support them, to aid them, and to believe them when all other evidence points to the contrary.
I’m the exact opposite of those people.
Apparently, I have what I would now like to coin as “Resting Con Face.” That is, people never believe or trust me ever, about anything, even when they have virtually every reason to.
“For whatever reason, that particular brand of distrust was reserved just for me.”
The Cut recently published a story about Anna “Delvey”, a young woman who has been convicted of bilking pretty much the entirety of the New York City social scene out of a staggering amount of money, services, and hospitality. There was no complex financial scheme, no conspiratorial cast of crooks working behind the scenes. She simply told everyone in New York that she had access to money, and they believed her.
For months, she racked up massive tabs and borrowed ridiculous sums from social contacts and seasoned professionals. At one point, according to the story, she racked up over $30,000 in hotel charges at one hotel simply on the promise that at some point she would have some money wired to them.
Meanwhile, I had to provide two forms of identification (because “one” was not a sufficient number of forms of photo ID) the other day in order to cash a check for a few hundred dollars at the bank that issued the valid check.
That’s not so unreasonable of them, right? They were just doing their jobs. Oh, but it goes far beyond that. I don’t know what it is about me, but everyone is always suspicious of me, and my word is never just taken as truth. I could be kindheartedly offering free ice water in hell, and the tortured souls there would wave me off with an uncomfortable “Yeah,… umm… no thanks,… I’ll wait.”
Think I’m exaggerating? Let’s discuss.
A couple of years ago, I suffered untreated for weeks with a very serious case of acute pancreatitis. I visited a number of emergency rooms only to continually be turned away because I apparently wasn’t “believable” enough to warrant actual testing. When my body eventually began showing external signs of trauma, I was finally diagnosed and hospitalized for nearly a week.
Once, while I was waiting tables, a customer insisted at length that I was lying to her about whether or not our restaurant was (that day) serving a type of sandwich that had never been on any of our menus (I was hired at that restaurant before it ever opened, so I’m quite sure). What exactly would my motivation even be for lying about that?
It’s not even that I look particularly shady. For years and years, every time I would step into a strange dive bar (which I did frequently), no matter who I was with or if I was alone, the regular customers would accuse me of being a police officer or parole officer. They were never able to quite explain why; they just said that something in the way I look sends out a vibe.
It’s not just in the way that I look, though. A few months after moving into an apartment in Green Bay, Wisconsin, from out of state, I received a call on my home telephone (it came with the cable/internet package, don’t judge) looking for some woman I had no way of ever knowing. When I explained my situation to the bill collector on the other end, she accused me of lying, explained how I was being an accomplice to criminal activity, and announced that she was sending the police to my address right away.
Anna “Delvey” somehow convinced lawyers, banks, and other financial institutions to carry out long, drawn out services for her based on her claims that she had access to money that she didn’t have. Aren’t these things instantly verifiable these days?
Friends of Anna “Delvey” believed she was a wealthy heiress while they were paying to settle her bills and giving her money. One friend paid something like $62,000 on one occasion to get her out of a jam. I can’t convince people I know to cover my beer tab until I run to the ATM.
I was once questioned about robbing a bank in Cleveland, Ohio, while I was on duty in the military, stationed in Maryland.
I did happen to be in Maryland again when I was later accused of sideswiping a moving vehicle in Baltimore, but I was graciously dismissed from the suspect list when the blue paint marks on the victim’s car didn’t match my vehicle’s undamaged white paint.
Come to think of it, I might be the only law-abiding white male who regularly gets profiled by authorities. I’ve been given an inordinate number of field sobriety tests but have never been cited with driving while under the influence. I also get at least the full-body wanding nearly every time I pass through any type of security checkpoint, be it a concert or a commercial flight.
I understand that a certain percentage of people are rightfully wary of disclosing their personal information to strangers. However, while I was selling cellular telephones and services, a disturbing number of people refused to tell me who their cell phone carriers were, even though it was written on their phones where I could plainly see it. None of the other sales people with whom I worked encountered that lunacy. For whatever reason, that particular brand of distrust was reserved just for me.
Recently, I was temporarily “permanently” banned from UpWork.com, a freelance writing website, because they assumed I was trying to cheat them out of their cut of my earnings when I tried to help an immigrant client with a tenuous grasp of English navigate their system. I was reinstated after an executive committee finally listened to my case.
Even my own Facebook friends suspect me of lying to them about politics and my experiences with the government, assuming that I’m secretly harboring some extreme liberal/conservative agenda, depending on which viewpoint clashes with theirs. (The truth is that I’m generally pretty moderate, and that freaks people out.)
So here’s a shout out to all my fellow RCF (Resting Con Face) sufferers out there. Hang in there, you sketchy seeming lot; maybe when we get old, there will be some inherent trust that comes with aging. Until then, document everything, carry around evidence, and keep your GPS turned on at all times, because no one is going to take your word for anything.