I just found out that I died in 1998!

Did you know?

Once a year I do a little genealogical research to see if I can find additional family medical history through newspaper obituaries.

Yesterday was the day for 2019.

I didn’t find out any new medical information.

However, one of the links led me to one of those sites that has everything about everyone, and you can see it all, as long as you’re willing to shell out some serious bucks. Since I already know everything about myself, I didn’t shell out any bucks.

However, there was lots of “negative information” about me, and some of it was free.

I found out that I have five bankruptcies. Well, I can tell you that I have, indeed, been involved with five bankruptcies, two in Texas, one in Michigan, and two in California. In all five, I was the “attorney of record.” I wasn’t actually the attorney because I don’t have a law degree, and the only bars I have passed are those that don’t serve margaritas. Courts don’t expect anyone other than attorneys to file bankruptcy documents, so there usually is no place on the filing forms for anyone other than petitioner and attorney of record. Thus, when I created and filed bankruptcy documents, I always entered my name as “attorney of record” and typed in below, “not an attorney.”

Bankruptcy laws for each state are different but are very explicit, mainly because there can be a lot of money involved. To the best of my knowledge, none of the 50 states require that one actually be a bankruptcy attorney, or even an attorney, to file the documents for a bankruptcy. Those laws allow you to file documents for your own bankruptcy!

The caveat is that you have to know and understand the bankruptcy laws. But if you can read and comprehend very explicit laws, you can file bankruptcy for yourself. Another caveat, though, is that the fewer assets and debts you have, the easier the bankruptcy. If you have your main home, a summer home, a vacation home, a ski home, a fishing home, etc., that’s going to be a difficult bankruptcy because you probably can sell a few of those homes to pay off your debts, and that’s usually what the bankruptcy judge will order. It might not pay off all your debts, but the bankruptcy judge doesn’t want to see a lot of assets if you’re filing for bankruptcy. Same with multiple cars. No, except in very rare circumstances.

In my case, law always has been one of my interests/hobbies. At one point I wanted to be an attorney. Then I found out how much addition schooling beyond college would be required. No. That, though, didn’t stop me from studying law on my own time, especially since, being self-employed for most of my 53 years in business, I needed legal documents for all the companies I have founded, for my Clients in some cases (home inspections come immediately to mind), etc. For all my companies, I created the documents and then simply passed them by an attorney in whatever state I was in for his approval for that state. An attorney simply reading and commenting takes less time (and time is money!) than an attorney meeting with you for consultation, drafting documents, meeting with you again, revamping documents…. on and on and on. One’s startup company could be bankrupted by the attorney before it ever got going!

Apparently, everything about everyone services provide for corrections if you’re interested in doing that. If I was 30, not self-employed, and climbing up the corporate ladder, I probably would have corrected all the misinformation I found. Might even have shelled out some big bucks to see what private misinformation they might have had, and corrected that which was wrong.

Being somewhat anal (somewhat?!!!), I have records of every place I have ever lived, every mailing address I have ever used, every phone number I have ever had; and I know the names of my roommates and relatives. I found phone numbers that never belonged to me…. addresses where I never lived…. people whom I have never known….

The funniest (perhaps) item was my incarceration. Twice! Once I knew about. I spent the night in jail for peeing in public. There was (probably still is) a tradition at Texas A&M University (for guys only) that when one receives one’s senior ring (rings and controlled by the university, one of less than 10 which do that. No ordering from Zales!), one does not immediately put it on. Instead, one pockets it and heads to one of the bars at North Gate. There one orders a pitcher of beer, drops one’s senior ring in the pitcher, proceeds to drink the whole pitcher by oneself, and catches one’s ring in one’s mouth with that last swallow out of the pitcher. Only then does one put the ring on one’s finger.

Well, remember that I said this was guys only? That’s because the tradition continues outside in Bottlecap Alley. The restrooms on Aggie Ring Day have long lines, resulting in many guys going out to Bottlecap Alley to relieve themselves. Guess who else knows about this tradition? Yep. The coppers. And they have no problem meeting their annual arrest quota on Aggie Ring Day.

I didn’t get arrested on my Aggie Ring Day. Instead, it was about 15 years later when I had six employees all getting their Aggie rings at the same time. Being the good employer that I was, I took all six of them over to North Gate and bought them their pitchers of beer at the Dixie Chicken. Of course, I could not let them drink alone, so I got a pitcher for myself and, like reaffirming wedding vows 25 or 50 years later, I dropped my Aggie ring in my pitcher and had fun with the guys. Later, we all went out to Bottlecap Alley to do our business. Two of us got arrested for peeing in public. Oh, well. I do believe that at least 25% of Aggie male graduates have an arrest record….

Olivia the black & white catMy other incarceration I did not know about. I spent 1981 to 1997 in prison in Missouri! I wonder who was impersonating me at all my businesses while I was in a Missouri prison. Even funnier is that I died in 1998, shortly after getting out of prison. Maybe I have nine lives like Little Queen Olivia?

Anyway, this was a great learning experience for confirming that anything on the Internet is there forever, good or bad, you or your doppelganger.

Thus, my recommendation for anyone just entering the work force or climbing up that corporate ladder is to do two things:

  1. Check your credit rating once a year. There are three credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. By federal law, each one has to provide your credit report to you once each year, but you have to request it. They won’t just send it to you. Because of that, you actually can monitor your credit report every four months simply by requesting your credit report from a different agency every four months, like so:
    Experian – January 2020
    TransUnion – May 2020
    Equifax – September 2020
    Experian – January 2021
    TransUnion – May 2021
    Equifax – September 2021
    Etc.
  2. Check one of those everything about everyone sites once a year just to make sure that nothing weird shows up…. and just in case you decide to change jobs and the new company looks up your information on one of those sites. That could be awkward, and the company might not even let you know why they didn’t hire you. They simply didn’t hire you based on the (wrong) information available.

If my home inspection clients from 2001-2016 had known that I died in 1998, they never would have let me inspect their homes!

Russel grave headstone

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