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This is a question Look! It's me in the Local Paper

Most local papers will print any old rubbish. Far, far too many years ago I got into the Windsor, Slough and Eton Express after winning a fancy-dressed-bicycle competition. What they neglected to mention was that I was the only entrant.

What sad stuff have you been in your local rag for doing? Scan stuff in and show us if you can.

(, Thu 10 Feb 2005, 10:15)
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It's a risky business, being in the paper
Thirty one years ago, I was pictured in the Kentish Gazette in my cub scout uniform (aged 7) having been snapped while helping on our charity cake stall at the county show. The accompanying article gave my full name and the town where I lived. I recall being slightly excited and considerably embarrassed, with some trepidation regarding the inevitable kicking I would get from my classmates.

The next morning - a saturday - the phone rang and my mum called me, saying it's "Akela", the scoutmaster. I thought he sounded odd, but believed it was really him - after all, mum had said it was. The chap on the phone then proceeded to ask me about the newspaper photo, and so on - then veered off into unfamiliar territory - had I ever been photographed naked, and would I like to be. I was baffled and very uncomfortable, but at seven, didn't know how to deal with an authority figure being weird. He then wanted to know if I'd ever sucked another boys penis, and whether I had any particularly strong views on anal sex. I had no idea what he was on about and stayed on the line in the vain hope that I was misunderstanding and it would all suddenly make sense.

Eventually, his breathing became rather loud, and, with a grunt or two, he rang off. Bemused, I recounted this to mum, who called the police. Eventually, it turned out that there was a repeated problem with this - the perv would see a kids pic in the paper (school sports and scouts being his favourites) and work his way through all the families with the same surname in the phone book, asking to speak to the relevant kid (pretending to be a teacher or some such)until, after several "Sorry, wrong number" calls, he hit the jackpot. They never caught him. And I have tried to stay out of the local rag ever since. Now, of course, we have the internet, and he wouldn't need to go to so much trouble - just pop into a chat room and let them come to you.

Sadly, although I was barely upset by this, I never felt comfortable with the poor scoutmaster who had been impersonated and soon hung up my woggle for ever.
(, Thu 10 Feb 2005, 18:36, Reply)

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