2007_06_shredder.jpgThere's a story in today's Times that should be a reminder to everyone that shredding documents is not a chore but a duty. An "About New York" column by Jim Dwyer tackles the tale of a man accused of being a deadbeat dad (it's Times Select, so maybe grab the Metro section from somewhere or use your college email).

Mike Shaieb, a film and TV music composer, received a letter from the city demanding that he appear in family court because a woman claimed that he fathered her baby, and therefore, the city wanted him to pay child support. Shaieb hired a lawyer, even though "Court officials pointedly told [him] that he could handle the case himself," and it turns out that in family court, details don't have to be disclosed.

Mr. Shaieb’s lawyer said he had never met the woman in question. The magistrate said Ms. Robbins could discuss those particulars afterward with the city attorney.

Ms. Robbins leaned over.

“Do you mind if I tell them?” Ms. Robbins asked.

“Not at all,” Mr. Shaieb replied. “It’s fine.”

Ms. Robbins addressed the magistrate.

“Mr. Shaieb is gay,” she said. “He’s never had sex with a woman in his life.”

Dunh dunh dunh! That's like an Ally McBeal/Boston Practice/whatever- other-David E. Kelley -show twist! Apparently the woman gave Shaieb's name when she applied for welfare - Shaieb and his partner suspect someone got a hold of a receipt or their address and figured Mike for a patsy. What a scam.