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Aleksey Vayner

If you have ever had a friend who fabricated much of their life, or if you caught last week’s episode of How I Met Your Mother, you should relate to this one. I once discovered that a very good friend of mine was passing off details of my life as his own when he met people.

A mutual acquaintance one day began to tell me of an experience that Dan* had related to her. As she got into the details, I realized she was telling me about an event from my own life. I corrected her and suggested she may have been confusing something I had told her at some point. She told me they had just discussed this the day before, so she was quite sure it was him.

When I confronted Dan*, he denied ever having told her that story. When I asked why he would pass of my life as his (especially considering that my life is not all that interesting), he again denied it.

I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but related the event to a third person. They confirmed that Dan* had told them the same story on more than one occasion.

I’m sharing all of this merely as a way of introducing Aleksey Vayner. He has been making the rounds on the Internet based purely on his ability to make stuff up. It has generated a lot of buzz, and resulted in this article in The New Yorker.

On its face, Vayner‚Äôs C.V. may be the world‚Äôs greatest, which raises the question of why he‚Äôs looking for an entry-level finance position‚Äîthe fallback for so many unremarkable Ivy Leaguers who lack dual backgrounds in espionage and Eastern medicine… Meanwhile, Vayner‚Äôs legend grows, like that of a latter-day Paul Bunyan. Acquaintances report hearing that he is one of four people licensed to handle nuclear waste in the state of Connecticut, that he must register his hands as lethal weapons at airports, and even that he has killed two dozen men in Tibetan gladiatorial contests.

As one poster to the Yale Alumni web site put it, “A guy with this level of grandiose and delusional thinking would either be homeless or president in twenty-five years.‚Äù

Based on my own experience, I’m betting for “homeless” but who knows.

* Names have been changed to avoid admitting I know the real person. He has likely violated parole again and is probably being sought by law enforcement personnel in as many as three states.

Written by Michael Turk