An Open Letter to …?

This is going to be an open letter to two people, neither of whose identity is known to me.  I have a first name for one person (which I will not be revealing).  The other person’s identity I don’t know at all.  This is the person I would like to talk to.

I get most of my mail at a PO box for security reasons.  I want things with financial information safely locked away, not in a mail box on my porch.

Anyway, after lunch today I swung by the post office.  There were a couple of pieces of mail with computer generated addresses, such as an insurance statement, things like that.  On top of these envelopes was a letter-sized envelope with a hand-written address.  The handwriting was unfamiliar.  I glanced at the return address but didn’t look any closer than to see it was in town.   Through the envelope I could see and feel what appeared to be a card.

Wondering who it was from, I took a closer look at the return address.  There was no name, just a PO Box, city, and zip code.  My PO Box.

I opened the envelope.  It contained a card with a country/cowboy theme bordering it.  The date on it was yesterday.  The full text was as follows:

Hi, Keith.

I’m a diehard Robert E. Howard fan and was given your name by a Convention representative.  Perhaps we can speak on the phone and then meet in person…maybe even ride-share to the June Convention.

Hope to hear from you!

[Woman’s first name]

[phone number with local area code]

It was a little unnerving.  This woman (I’ll assume for now it’s a woman I’m dealing with) hid her address by using my PO Box as the return address.  But she included a phone number for me to call her rather than an email.  Maybe I’m a little old fashioned (or just old), but I find the tone of the note a tad bit forward, especially the bit about sharing a ride.

My wife…is not amused.

She did volunteer to call the number provided, though.  If she does, it won’t be from her cell phone.  And I’m pretty sure she won’t be nice.

One of the administrative assistants at work (who found the situation disturbing) was able to determine that the number provided was a land line.  The reverse phone book website required payment to provide a name.  No thanks.  I’m not spending a dime on this.

The June Convention is clearly a reference to Howard Days.  I was half expecting my wife to tell me I can’t go this year.  She seems okay with my going at the moment.  If that changes, I’ll be coming after someone and blood will be spilt.

What I can’t figure is who the “Convention representative” is.  The Robert E. Howard Foundation has my mailing addresss, of course.  I am, after all, a member.  But I can’t see any of them giving it out.  Likekwise Project Pride, which hosts Howard Days.  This is assuming my address wasn’t obtained under false pretenses.  There may be a violation of privacy laws here somewhere.

It’s entirely possible, I suppose, for someone local to contact the Foundation, Project Pride, or a prominent Howard fan for information on Howard Days, and that person telling her she lives in the same town as me.  She asks for contact information, and it’s provided in an attempt to be helpful.  Maybe that’s what happened.  Maybe.

The whole thing could be completely innocent.  This woman may simply be reaching out to someone with a common interest.  She may not have any ulterior motive, just poor judgement.  But I’m not ready to assume that.  The use of my address as the return address on an envelope addressed to me, no last name given, and the suggestion of sharing a ride with someone she doesn’t know make me  cautious.

If the person who provided my address to this woman reads this, please contact me via the email address on the sidebar.  I am not mad at you.  I am not looking to pick a fight, online, verbal, or otherwise.  I have no intention of taking legal action.  I would like a better idea of what’s going on and who this woman is.  I have no intention of contacting her.  I simply want to know if I have cause for concern.

11 thoughts on “An Open Letter to …?

  1. John Bullard

    You know, I’m sure she’s fine. She’ll be a wonderful traveling companion who just wants to tell you that she also knows a Nigerian Prince who is crazy about REH and also worth millions who’s looking for help to get his money out of Nigeria.

    Or a wonderful opportunity for a vacation time-share.

    1. Keith West Post author

      That or I’ll be found either hacked to pieces on the side of the road or hanging from a meat hook in a warehouse with these peculiar little marks on my neck.

      This is probably just bad judgement on her part. I’m mostly curious about how she got my address.

  2. Jeff Shanks

    Nobody refers to Howard Days as a “Convention.” And Convention Representative? That’s weird. I can promise you that no one at the Foundation would give out your address. A lot of red flags here.

    1. Keith West Post author

      Yeah, that “convention” reference was weird. I didn’t think anyone at the Foundation would give out my address.


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