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Tuesday, April 10, 2001 A Publication of the Newspeak Association Volume No. 66, Issue 10

Front Page
-Student Pugwash conference calls for individual responsibility
-Tough Questions, Real Answers
-Student techniques for procrastination abound

News
-News Headlines
-NASA hopes to snap losing streak with Odyssey
-Scientists say precious metals originated in neutron-star
-Police Log

Opinions
-Extremists and the men who hate them
-Imposter rents videos, seeks psychiatric help
-China joins lengthening string of leadership tests for Bush
-Tax Cut Reminiscent of "Trickle-Down" Economics
-The little things...

Letters to the Editor
-Response to Mr. Sherman's Letter
-A spring scene at WPI

Features
-Free Stuff Anyone? lastest job fair supplies goodies
-New special interest housing approved

Arts & Entertainment
-Annual Metal and Hardcore fest stomps through Worcester again
-WWPI brings The Carla Ryder Band to WPI
-Shane Koyczan's poetry infuses audience with energy
-Vapor Transmission tour visits the Palladium
-What's Happening

Announcements
-Club Corner

Sports
-Women's Lacrosse flattens Framingham 19-2
-Kaufman named national coaching VP
-Score Board
-Upcoming Contests

Imposter rents videos, seeks psychiatric help


by Ken Gagne
Tech News Staff

One Friday I went home to Leominster. There was a letter from Hollywood Video waiting, informing me I never returned the movies I rented in November. Unfortunately for them, I hadn't rented from them in years.

Clerical error, I figure.

There was also a message on the machine. "Hi Ken, this is Dr. Aldman, just wanted to remind you that you have a 9:45 appointment on Monday at the clinic, but there's also a 9:00 opening if you want to show up early."

Who? Where? This was all news to me. Though it was after hours, I called the number he left, and got their answering machine:

"Thank you for calling the UMass Memorial Psychiatric Clinic."

My mind shifted into overdrive, producing five possibilities:

1) Someone, pretending to be a doctor, called my house and played a joke.

2) Someone called Dr. Aldman, pretending to be me, and set up an appointment, playing a joke.

3) Dr. Aldman called the wrong Ken's phone number.

4) Someone had stolen my identity and was using it to rent videos and receive psychiatric help.

5) I'm crazy. Maybe I've been seeing Dr. Aldman every Friday for years, and I always forget immediately afterward. How many times, how many weeks, had my mind already raced through these five possibilities?

I decided the best way to figure it out was to go to the appointment. If I walked in and everyone from the receptionist to the doctor recognized me, I'd know I was in trouble.

When the receptionist asked if I had ever seen Dr. Aldman before, she didn't take "I was hoping you could tell me that" as an answer, so I sign in and waited for the doctor. He eventually appeared, asking the receptionist where his 9:00 was. She pointed to me, he looked, and walked out. This happened a few times until finally she said, "Look, he's that kid sitting in the corner right there!" He approached me cautiously, asking, "Ken Gagne?"

As he was leading me to his office, I asked him: "When you called me on Friday, your message sounded very casual. Have you ever seen me before?"

"Well now, I'm confused about a few things here myself," he replied.

"You're not who I was expecting. I've been treating Ken Gagne for awhile, and you're not him."

Apparently, Dr. Aldman really does have a patient named Ken Gagne. When the receptionist went to make an appointment for him, she pulled up every Ken Gagne in the UMass medical system - and clicked the wrong one.

The doctor was as surprised as I was. As for the videos, I'll assume it was the same kind of clerical error that made my hometown's Blockbuster suggest I had rented movies and kept them overdue - during my ten-week stay in Australia.

But I'm not crazy.


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