I am a skeptical person by nature. If someone tries to sell me on the healing properties of grapefruits or magnets or colonic irrigation, my first reaction generally runs along the lines of "that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard." What really irritates me though, are "facts," stories or warnings that people forward to me by email. I know that this is surprising, but not everything found on the internet is true! *gasp* (Think about it - if I'm able to use the internet as a forum in which to spout off my opinions, so can anyone else with too much time on their hands!)
I would like to introduce you all to one of my very favorite websites. http://www.snopes.com/ It's an urban legends reference website that addresses all of these ridiculous email forwards that clog up our e-mailboxes. If you are reading this sentence, your homework is as follows: before forwarding any emails about a little boy with cancer who wants business cards, or greeting cards, or letters so that he can get into the Guiness Book of World Records; before warning all of your female friends about attackers in mall parking lots knocking them out with fake perfume samples and then stealing all their money; before giving your friends yet another copy of the Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe that supposedly cost $250; before refusing to buy Tampax Pearl tampons because you think they will cut your cervix; before passing along a stupid email where people are supposed to put a star next to their own name for a fictitious school project; before boycotting Exxon and Mobile gas stations because you think that will lower gas prices, go to this website! (For the record, all of the examples I listed in the previous sentence are indeed examples of urban legends that are completely false. If you want to know more, follow the links. I must confess that I actually believed the cookie recipe one until I checked it out on Snopes.)
Let me clarify that I am not picking on anyone here. This is simply a public service announcement. These emails are annoying, and since most of them don't have even a shred of validity, they're a complete waste of time. Frankly, I don't have the time to read or even delete these emails. (Oh, who am I kidding? If I have this much time to devote to a blog tirade, I have time to read these emails... I just don't want to.) These emails are often less than "harmless." Don't believe me? Click on the "Guiness Book of World Records" link above. A family and an organization have had to relocate because people just won't stop sending cards and letters for a "dying child" who is now a healthy 29 year old man who doesn't want any more greeting cards, business cards, letters or anything else.
Bottom line? The fact that you've heard a story a hundred times or that it was forwarded by a "very reliable source" doesn't make something true. I will leave you all with a fabulous quote from a girl I knew in high school (who shall be referred to simply as "Girl"):
Friend: "Hey, Girl, did you know that the word 'gullible' is not in the dictionary?"
Girl: "I know, ok?? Why does everyone keep telling me that?? I already know it's not in there!!"