This form of honesty not the best policy

"I'm starting three months at a New Zealand University and had to fill in a billion forms to get computer access/entry card," writes a reader. "I provided my passport and told them I had previously studied there. Then came the usual 'is Toni Homeperm* your legal name' question, which it is. Then they needed to know why they couldn't find my old student record, so I said that was under my birth name. I gave them that. But then they wanted proof I actually was Gayleen Jones*. However I changed my name about 25 years ago and have no official documents showing that change any more. Next thing I'm off to Birth, Deaths and Marriages who tell me over the phone they can print me a new birth certificate - until I tell them I was actually born in Australia, so of course there is no way they can access Aussie birth certificates. So some poor soul now has to dig through a dusty box somewhere hoping to find my deed poll wotsit from the 90s, all so I can get a bleedin' log-in for my job because I filled in a form honestly. I asked if they could just delete the part where I mentioned I'd studied there in the past but nope. How do con-artists do it?"

*Names have been changed.

Red balloon terror

Police in a small town in southeastern Pennsylvania said a prankster has taken their love for Stephen King's horror novel It a little too far. The local police department posted photos on its Facebook account showing helium-filled red balloons tied to sewer grates throughout town. The force believes the prank is tied to the release of a new film adaptation of It, in which a shape-shifting monster - usually seen in the form of a terrifying clown holding balloons - lives in the sewers and terrorises children in Maine. "A certain movie is coming to theatres in two days, and a local prankster took it upon themselves to promote the movie," the Facebook post read. "We give points for creativity, however we want the local prankster to know that we were completely terrified as we removed these balloons from the grates and we respectfully request they do not do that again." The department's post ends with the phrase "you'll float too," a tag line from the movie's trailers.

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