"Please give me your name, so I know whom to sue." (long story)

I’m sure everybody has had a run-in or two with a wacko. I had my best one yet today, and I thought it was amusing enough to share. :slight_smile:

In Harvard Square, right above the subway stop, there are a lot of benches and places where people can hang out and wait. I wanted a photograph of the area, so I went today and took one on a cheap disposable camera. It was pretty crowded, as it often is, and there must have been 25 people in my shot. Immediately afterward, I walked down the stairs to the subway station. A man followed me. Now that I think about it, he kind of resembled a 25-year-old Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, with curly, blonde hair and a hat. But there was no mirth in his heart.

Excuse me sir, he said, is that a digital camera?
No, I replied, articulate as always.
Did you just take a photo of me?
I don’t know. Maybe.
Your lens was pointed right at me, and I saw the flash go off. You took a photo of me.
Well, can I get your card, please, sir?
Excuse me?
Please give me your name and contact information, so that I know who to sue for taking that photograph.
Excuse me? Really, he looked dead serious.
I have sold a copyright to my image, and it’s illegal for anyone but the company who owns the copyright to publish any picture of me.
Right. Well, I’m not going to publish it, so you don’t have to worry.
Sir, just give me your name.
No! I know you can’t copyright your “image”.
I don’t own the copyright. North Forest Publishing does, and if that picture shows up, I’m the one who gets sued. Now please tell me your name! At this point he was fumbling for a pen in his jacket, a pen which he never produced.
Do I have to call the police on you?
Yeah, why don’t you call the police? I’ll have one Boston Kreme, please. This last part was said to the nice people behind the counter at Dunkin Donuts.
Would you please call the police for me? Because I don’t want to leave him. This was also said to the poor people behind the counter. They looked at each other. Then they looked at me. I was just shaking my head, smiling. Of course, they didn’t call the police. Both they and I ignored his rants for as long as I was at the counter.
Thank you very much. I took my donut and proceeded to the turnstiles. I already had a subway token, which I pulled out of my pocket.
Sir, you don’t know what you’re doing! There will be serious repercussions! Now tell me your name!
No! I deftly inserted my token and got through, leaving him on the other side. I felt very much like the guy in an action movie being chased in the car chase scene when he jumps a raising drawbridge and leaves the other guy in the dust.
You haven’t heard the last of this, sir! He yelled as I ran to board the train. If I ever see that picture, your life! He wasn’t cut off here. His last threat was indeed a woefully incomplete sentence fragment.

Now, I’ve had time to reflect on this, and what the heck? There are scads of tourists and visitors in Harvard Square all the time. Does he pull this with every one who take a picture with him in it? (Oh, and if you’re worried about visiting because of guys like him, don’t. I’ve been here for months and this is the first person like this I’ve met.) I’ve also had time to come up with some really witty things I should have said, such as, Oh look, I have a pen. Why don’t you give me your name, and I’ll contact you if I want to get sued? I do wish I had been quicker on my feet, but he really took me by surprise. :slight_smile: Anyone else have bizarre encounters like this?

That line would have been pretty funny if you hadn’t been at a donut shop at the time. :smiley:

That’s a pisser! :smiley:

As for odd encounters, I was on campus at my university last year when an elderly woman approached me with a smile and asked, “Where do you live?”, as if it were completely normal to inquire as to where a stranger lives without so much as a “hello” preceding it. I, taken aback, looked at her quizzically and managed only to spit out, “What??”.

Turns out she worked at a physical rehab center - they’d recently gotten a newly-disabled young man (early 20’s) as a client. The young man wasn’t socializing, as he was depressed about his situation, and she thought that it might be nice for him to meet a pretty woman around his age.

I didn’t have the heart to tell the poor thing that dating a disabled woman probably wasn’t what he had in mind right now. :slight_smile: And I weaseled around telling her where I live.

An odd semi-encounter happened a couple weeks ago as I was getting a ride from my dad from my local train station back to our home. Dad was loading my wheelchair into the trunk of his car when an older, rather drunk man who was standing nearby loudly slurred, “There’s nothing wrong with her that a good bottle of scotch won’t cure!”.


My friend and I were walking through the parking lot of an Albertsons when a rather shabbily dressed fella came up and started screaming at my friend for being a Witch, the Devil, and a Vampire.

Now, while it’s true we were rather gothy at the time, we had no idea who this guy was.

He said that the cross (large celtic cross) that my friend was wearing was “stolen out of my mothers grave!”.

We left. In a hurry.

The world is full of odd people.
I wonder if the guy who’s pic you snapped is some sort of secret agent… granted, a rather sad one, if he can’t snag a camera from you, but still…

Anyone who is standing in a public place does not have, what is known as, “a reasonable expectation of privacy.” Your photograph-wary buddy in Harvard Square was a Class A Wingnut.
ASIDE: At first it seemed as if you were telling the gathering crowd that the soon-to-be-summoned-cops should also bring you a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

That was much funnier.

While I agree that Krispy Kreme is the nectar of the donut angels, Zenster, I regret to inform you that they are not sold by Dunkin Donuts, and that the OP was asking for a Boston Kreme.

And damn, that’s a pretty funny story.

I’ll have to get back to you on my funny stories.

'Tis true. Krispy Kremes are not available in Boston yet.
They are in the grips of the evil Dunkin Donuts chain.

::the horror::

I see candid photos of stars all the time in People magazine, etc, all the time.

Princess Diana was continually chased by the paparazzi. All she could do was ask them politely not to take pictures of her children.

I don’t think you have anything to worry about. IANAL, but he’s in a public place and has no expectation of privacy.

Time to Photoshop his face onto some really disgusting porn. :smiley:

So, are you going to blow the picture up and plaster it on a webpage?
Might be interesting to see what kinda e-mails you get :slight_smile:

Ha ha, thanks for all the responses. I didn’t realize how funny the donut line was at first. :slight_smile: There is indeed a monopoly on donut shops here. In Boston, you can’t throw a rock without hitting two Dunkin Donuts and a CVS pharmacy.

Just so it’s clear, I had no doubt at the time that his threats were empty ones; I know about reasonable expectations of privacy and whatnot. I knew right from the very beginning that you can’t get a copyright like he says. And even if you could, this guy was no celebrity. And even if he was, I wasn’t going to publish the photo anyway. The reason I didn’t give him my name was not beacuse I thought he would actually sue me, but maybe he would bug me some more. Plus, he was being a jerk. :wink:

I thought about publishing the photo of him just out of spite, but maybe that’s exactly what he wants, in order to get the free publicity. But it’s not like I exactly have the means to get the shot in People. I also don’t think he was being very secret or resourceful for a secret agent. I think his motive must have just been to be weird.

Oooh, I just realized I hope he doesn’t sue me for publishing his dialogue online. :smiley:

What’s going to be really funny is when you get that picture developed, and where you expect your whacko’s image to be, there’s a bizarre Lovecraftian demon, looking slightly dazzled by the flash.

It may very well be a really weird month for you.

I’d be a little amused if he doesn’t show up in the picture at all. (Whether this is because you might have missed him in the actual picture-taking or whether he’s an unearthly spirit is up to you.)

It happens to me from time to time when I’m in the metro, but they usually skip over the lawsuit stuff and go right to the threats. My usual retort is “No, I wasn’t taking your picture. You’re not exactly fine architecture, sweetheart.”

There are more than a couple people who do this? What do they want? Surely they’re not all in it for thrills. :confused:

It’s possible it had something to do with the Oompa Loompas.

I apologize for bumping this thread from a few days ago, but I got the photo developed, and in case anyone was wondering, yes he was in there, but his hand was in front of his face. Whether it’s just luck, or he was trying to avoid me, I don’t know. If he was trying to avoid me, that makes me think he really believes what he was saying. Geez, I hope not. Anyway, here’s my photograph. The guy is standing on the right, and I’ve included a zoom-in of him, because he’s not very big in the picture. Certainly nothing to get worked up over.

Now I’m positive the guy was a Mil-Spec Wing Nut. He is some 20-50 feet away from the camera. His hand is also outstretched in order to obtain maximum obscuration of field. That this guy is making such efforts to avoid being photographed from some 20-50 feet means he is hypersentive to being on film. He reeks of paranoia to the N[sup]th[/sup] degree.

This guy is one Class-A Loon, with a capital “D!”

North Forest Publishing didn’t get any hits on Google, but they sound like they might be one of those stock photo companies who hire “interesting” people to model for them, then sell limited rights to the pictures for use in brochures, corporate magazines and such. If this is the case, he probably signed a contract of exclusivity that prohibits him from modelling for another company, and it made him overly paranoid about getting his picture taken.

Oh no, now the copyright police are gonna get ya!