Keeping a Diary

Updated 1/9/99.

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Identity Theft

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I started keeping a diary for the purpose of finding out how many miles per gallon of gas my car got. It started with one entry with the date, odometer reading and amount of gas every time I filled up.

Soon after, I started recording the mileage everywhere I went. Additional uses were:

1.  To help compute deductions.

2.  To figure out the distance (sometimes the travel time also) between destinations.

2a.  To better evaluate alternate routes to use in case of traffic jams.

I've kept records for rental cars, too, for example Disney World and vicinity, Chicago Ill. to Mt. Pleasant Iowa, around Kauai and Hawaii, in and around Los Angeles and San Diego, to name a few. I suppose I could allege that a rental company overcharged me for mileage but the error would have to be large or I would have had to have driven the trip on several occasions using different cars.

Try it. After awhile it becomes a habit. I have been doing it for over 20 years.

As can be seen by the sample below, it is very easy. So far I did not record times regularly but probably should in the future. Actually I did record times when evaluating alternate routes.

The red printing is an explanation added later in case you can't read my handwriting. Since I have lived in several places and also own some investment property, I have been referring to the properties by their street or sometimes by the house number.

Mileage is to the nearest quarter of a mile, for example "125 minus" stands for "124 and three quarters".

Some other information of interest to me is also there-- weather, quick sketches of routes and maps, license numbers of bad drivers, phone numbers of interesting places advertised on the radio or side of a truck, etc. Such additional information also adds to the value and strength of a diary as an "alibi witness" to prove you were not at a crime scene.

I said it becomes a habit, but once in awhile I forget to record an entry. But usually I can estimate the mileage if I want to fill it in later.

Oh yes, the odometer reading when I buy gas is still recorded.

In a case involving identity theft or the commission of a crime, the diary together with credit card receipts is good evidence where a person was or was not at any given time. The frequent recordings of mileage make it easy to say it was impossible for the person to have gotten to the scene of a crime.

Wanted: Information on which is the faster drive from Norfolk Virginia to Wilmington Delaware, via Rte 13 and Chesapeake Bay bridge and tunnel (lots of traffic lights) or via I-64 and I-95 (80 or so miles longer)?

I Am Not a Walking Diary

Every now and then a person will be asked questions such as,

*   Where were you on the morning of August 14, 2005?

*   Is there any chance you were at the corner of Main and Elm on the morning of August 14, 2005?

We think that it is unreasonable to expect someone to remember off the top of his head where he was at any time in the past.

We strongly feel you should give answers such as "I do not recall" or "I don't know" if you have any doubt. Also use such answers as "probably not" instead of "no".

If you are in court when you are asked questions such as these, you may wish to begin your answer with, "Objection your honor," after the third or fourth question of a similar nature that you already answered "I don't recall" or something similar. When asked what your objection is, state that you do not remember what you did at that time.

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