The first message I got, I ignored. Then about a month later, it came again:
Hmm. Duck Soon Paik, eh? Did I know such a person? It didn’t ring a bell. I tried to peer through the haze of high school, to recall if I had a friend with that name. College? More probable, but still no bell ringing. Work? Hmm. Nope. Still no bells.
But it’s an uncommon name, something I know something about. For example, out of 150,000,000 FaceBook users, the FB group “Ochwats on FaceBook” has only 23 members. When I wrote the Ethernaut, I got an e-mail from a guy in England with the same last name. Though we US Ochwats were surprised we had brethren in England, our doubts of his authenticity were laid to rest when the correspondent told us he worked as a janitor. In a psychiatric hospital. And he thought he was going to get laid off.
Yep, my father said. With career success like that, he’s an Ochwat, all right.
I thought I’d remember someone named Duck. How much fun I would have had with the nicknames (“Patita,” “My little duckling,” etc.) .. or with the word canard! Yet I remembered none of this. Not a bill, not a webbed foot, not a single turd in a pond.
And I began to wonderwhat I actually did know. Could reunion.com have made a mistake? No, that never happens. But what did I know about Duck? Was s/he a …
Alas, I remained clueless. So I did what we all do in this day and age: I used Google.
In July, a judge found 73-year-old Duck Soon Paik guilty of failure to stop for a pedestrian, but not guilty of careless driving. Her ticket came to $209.
Mystery solved! She might be Duck Soon Paik on her traffic ticket, but she sounds like an Ochwat to me.