I can’t remember what part of 2003 it was that this whole Jason thing started (it could have even been late-2002, I’m not sure), but the whole Curtis The Superhacker thing seemed to be winding down and I’d become a regular on the messedup.net forums. Heywood started telling me about this guy named Jason Heckathorn and what an incredible, spaz he was. One of my favorite stories I heard about him back then was when Heywood & Co. spotted him in a store and he was wearing a police scanner on his belt. An emergency call sounded over the scanner and Jason jumps into action, ripping the scanner from his belt and yelling into the scanner, “This is Jason Heckathorn, I’m on my way!” and running out the door. Keep in mind that a police scanner can’t hear a person at all. It’s only for listening. Also keep in mind that even though Heywood just told me that story again less than a month ago, I’m sure I completely butchered it.
You get the idea, though. Jason Heckathorn is living in some bizarre fantasy world where he’s an important guy who has to fly out of stores because someone needs him. He always had this odd fixation about being an EMT, always claiming that he was one, yet he never could seem to make such a seemingly easy thing actually happen. He even ran an EMT website back then, with all kinds of information about being an EMT. (Yes, I know I have no right to make fun of anyone for having odd fixations, since I run a phone-obsessed website.)
So it all starts with Heywood writing a humorous update on one of his websites about Jason. Jason sees the article and immediately calls up Heywood’s webhost to complain about it and threaten legal action, which causes Heywood’s site to be yanked from the internet. From what my aging mind can recall, they go in circles like this for awhile – Heywood posts a hilarious article about Jason and then Jason spazzes out and gets the hosting company to completely remove the website.
Keep in mind that at this point Heywood was doing nothing more than posting funny stories about Jason on his website. Yes, they were stories that used Jason’s real name, but they were all in good fun, there just to entertain fans of the website by making fun of Jason. Having Heywood’s websites taken down meant that we were losing hilarious content about Jason, Curtis The Superhacker and other random musings from Heywood. We were also losing all of our forum posts since Heywood sucked and never made backups of anything.
One of the later articles about Jason detailed how Heywood was Googling Jason’s name and email addresses, looking for other fun gems on him. He ended up finding something that surprised all of us – an old post on the usenet archives where Spaz asked if anyone had any pornography of 9-to-14-year-old girls. (I might be slightly off on the ages, but you get the idea.) The post was made in a binaries group, where people often traded pornographic pictures with each other, including child pornography. The email used to make this post belonged to spaz and was also used to ask questions about Linux in other usenet groups, which was another thing Jason was into at the time. The post was made in 1999 and I’m guessing that Jason was new to the internet, just like most people, and didn’t realize that his post would remain in the archives forever.
Well, not quite forever. Jason was able to contact Google (or maybe it was still DejaNews back then) and convinced them to remove that post from the archive forever, probably claiming that someone posted it on there by spoofing his email address. We were all thoroughly impressed with this feat, because it seems like getting a 5-year-old post removed from usenet would take quite a bit of effort. We never even got to save the original text from the post either. Well played, Jason…
I think we ended up finding out that Jason worked at a grocery store’s bakery when a friend of Heywood’s happened to see him working at the counter. (Heywood and Jason lived in the same town and often bumped into each other.) Realizing that we now had a way to get back at him for taking down a website we loved, we immediately began calling up the bakery. In most of the calls I personally made, I asked for him by name and said I was calling about the car he advertised in the paper. I used different voices and had the staff there convinced that Jason had placed his 1979 Dodge Colt for sale and had listed his work’s number for it. His boss wasn’t happy about this at all. When I called her to ask about the car, she began lecturing me that Jason should not be listing a work number for personal use, and then she gave me his home phone number. I was kind of shocked at this being dropped into my lap without even asking for it. We now had Jason’s home phone number, which we soon found out that he shared with his roommate. The next day, Jason quit his job, walking out during his shift. Some of the recorded phone calls of these pranks can be heard on our Jason Heckathorn sound page.
Of course, Jason’s home phone number spread and people began calling him there. By the time Heywood called and talked to his roommate, the roommate had already decided that he was going to kick Jason out. The roommate was really nice and talked to Heywood for awhile, telling him that he was sick of Spaz’s shit and he was kicking him out not only because of our calls, but because of “other issues that he needs to deal with” and that “he’s made too many of his problems my problems.” This was after just 3 months of being roommates. The way this guy talked about Jason in the recorded phone call (listen to it here) convinced me that Heywood’s stories about Jason were completely legit. Jason had some crazy issues.
Since we had so much fun with his phone numbers, I decided to try and find out where he moved to. I began acquiring phone numbers to random family members of his, asking them all where Jason was. None of them had very good information for me, but everyone I spoke with seemed to completely hate him. His aunt told me, “He better not come around here because I don’t wanna see him.” and his stepbrother said, “I would never let him over here.” and also told me that his mom kicked him out of her house for stealing from her. (We later found out it was for assaulting his mom.) When I called his mother, she told me that she had a restraining order against him and that the police came and removed him from the home. She didn’t seem sad by this; she seemed pissed that she even had to talk about him with me. She was clearly disgusted with her son.
Months passed and we heard nothing from Jason. I’ve completely forgotten how we ended up finding out where his new job was, but we found that he was working at a wireless phone store inside a mall. I found a mall directory and began calling all the other stores in the mall and sending them to the wireless store to ask for Jason Heckathorn. I’d use various ruses, such as telling a store manager that we caught a shoplifter who also appeared to have a lot of merchandise from their store or I’d beg Subway to deliver a sandwich to me. I think we ended up sending some pizzas there too. Anything to cause random people to come into the store and ask for Jason. I’m going to have to ask Heywood to remind me how he found out about Jason’s reactions to this, but he told me that Jason would go nuts when these people showed up, and would yell things at the other employees like, “You see!?! You see what they’re doing!?!? I told you!!!“
Around the end of 2003 is when I wrote a perl script that would text random cell phone users with Jason’s new phone number. (I can’t remember how we ended up with Jason’s new phone number this time.) I ran it for a few days so that Jason’s phone rang nonstop with people wanting to know why he was paging them. This was a time when the term “texting” wasn’t too common and most people didn’t even know their phone was capable of text messages. I called his number a few times myself, pretending to be a person who was paged (listen to it here), and Spaz gave me all of Heywood’s contact information and encouraged me to press charges against him. Someone else who answered the phone at his house told me I was “the 90th caller,” so I guess the script was really effective.
It was soon after this that we completely lost interest in Jason and left him alone more or less forever. Heywood and I would still talk to each other occasionally and we’d laugh about all the horrible things we did to Jason. Occasionally he would tell me that he bumped into Jason in a store or something and that they’d talked to each other, but we never tried to track him down again. Jason will tell you that we’ve harassed him nonstop for 13 years straight, but it actually ended at the very end of 2003, with the text messaging script.