Friday, August 13, 2010

Rust sets in as trust loses a 't'

Image is Microsoft clipart.

A 't' has dropped off one of the most significant words in our language. Good old-fashioned trust: it's still around but the 'rust' seems to have set in. Once upon a time, it was in so many places we took it for granted; nowadays society seems to regard 'trust' as a characteristic of the gullible. A police officer recently told on ABC Radio of the continuing success of internet scammers in gaining trust of those who fall into their bulging email addressbooks. The interviewer expressed dismay at anyone falling for the faulty English in the spam messages. This dismissive attitude is understandable.

SCAM spam examples in my trash folder are hardly worth quoting, even to illustrate their basic lack of believability, but the following is rather cute: "I want us to team up and convince the bank to release the money to you as the nearest person to our deceased customer ... " And another, direct to the point: "I will soon retire from the bank and without wasting time I will like the fund to be release into your account." But the police officer emphasised no good would come from blaming the victims who for whatever reason – whether promised riches, romance or anything else – have bestowed their trust in someone communicating in this bizarre manner from a remote and exotic location. He said the scammers were ruthless criminals known to kidnap and even murder.

THIS was 'heavy stuff', just when I had been thinking about trust and feeling grateful to the many dozens who have trusted me when I have called at an odd hour to talk about their classified advertising. An elderly reader recently lamented the general suspicion in modern society. We had a good cry together because, as this column's 'intro' tries to say, modern life has turned into a monster that keeps snacking on the 't'. The reader was sad that her kids had to tell their kids to be wary and suspicious of everyone; it never used to be like that.

IN my email inbox last week, sandwiched between messages from a "Reverend" and a "doctor", and wrapped in others from a "casino", a "lottery official" and a lonely heart named "Eva", another reader simply asked for the phone number of a person about whom I wrote a few weeks ago. This showed there is good reason to check the email subject lines carefully and not just delete the unfamiliar – a seed of trust was in that weed pile.

IN the marvellous community of classified advertising in local papers such as The Redland Times, trust has taken root in a stable culture over many generations. We've bolted on our 't's because we know life's always been a bumpy ride.

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