Sunday, July 24, 2005

I Wish People Would Think For Themselves

I’m going to try really, really hard not to turn this into a rant, but it may be impossible.

People I love, and some people I just like, are always forwarding me stuff. You know, those e-mails that have sweet poetry about great friends or funny jokes about anything. But also political and religious diatribes that rarely have anything to do with my own beliefs, but since I keep those beliefs to myself, I try to just delete them.

But often, people forward things that are so blatantly wrong (both inaccurate and appalling), that it drives me crazy. Here is a sampling:

1. Mars was its closest to the Earth two years ago, so looking at it this August won’t be as cool as you think.

2. Deadly spiders are not hiding under toilet seats.

3. Andy Rooney never said any of that stuff.

4. The ACLU is not screaming about soldiers praying

5. Oh, and the always eye-rolling one—AOL and Disney are not tracking e-mails and will not send you a check for thousands of dollars to clutter up people’s inboxes.

For those of you wondering how you’re supposed to know what’s true and what’s not, I suggest you bookmark Snopes and refer to that whenever you have a question about something someone sent you. Wondering if you can really dial #677 to get the police on your cell phone? Only in Canada. If robbers are ether-ing women in parking lots with fake perfume samples (nope)? If you really should remove that file from your hard drive (no!)? Go to Snopes, do a quick search, and all your questions will be answered.

Sure, a few things are real. Many are also a mixture of real and false (like the CA-125 ovarian cancer e-mail) and it’s important to be able to separate the two. So if someone sends you something like this, check it out before passing it on. You can educate yourself and then educate other people. Soon you’ll be a real know-it-all.

Like me! :)

5 comments:

Cheryl said...

Hi Natalie!

I stopped by to find out more about the woman brave enough to be first to enter Diedre Knight's new contest. You go girl!

I empathize totally with your frustration with those e-mails. I used to get a lot of them but the deluge slowed to a trickle when I started reply to the senders with a "thanks for the thought but" e-mail and a link to http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/

Latigo Flint said...

You're right, deadly spiders don't really hide under toilet seats anymore. They do occasionally lurk behind hand soap levers though. (And that fact practically explodes the heads of OCDs.)

Natalie Damschroder said...

Hey, Cheryl, thanks for popping over! I bookmarked that new site. Cool.

Oooh, that's evil, latigo. {cringe} Of course, there can be poisonous spiders anywhere, and some of them probably do like cool moist areas. The problem I have with these e-mails is that they're designed to create panic while the perpetrators laugh at all the idiots afraid to use any public toilet...you know?

Jody W. said...

Well, black widows do like areas with water....

I'd be more leery of them in an outhouse than an indoor toilet, though. Believe me, I checked for them every single time I had to use the outhouse on a recent camping trip! But "luckily" all I could see were flies, mosquitoes, moths, and non-deadly spiders.

Natalie Damschroder said...

Plus, this e-mail that I mentioned describes a certain rare spider on airplane toilets or something. An odd scenario. One version of the e-mail supposedly has the word "heinie" as part of the "Latin" name of the spider.

AND, if a spider is hiding under the seat of the toilet, how likely is it to crawl OUT from under and bite you?