Normally, I'd have a rough time limiting my pet peeves to one or two, but the spate of alarmist e-mails I received within the past two weeks helped me make a quick decision. Does anyone else get annoyed by the "Eating fruit after dinner will cause it to rot in your digestive track and make you deathly ill" kind of message in their inbox?
I get more of these than I think I should, and some of them more than once. My SPAM filter won't keep them out because they're always forwarded to me by someone I know. So I routinely receive warnings about drinkng a hot beverage after a meal to melt all that unhealthy fat in my food (all food goes to body temperature by the time it leaves the stomach so a got drink is still just a drink), personal ID info being stolen off of hotel key cards (a woman I know who owns a hotel says we're lucky if the card remembers how to open the room door), and the dangers of being kidnapped from a mall after someone sprays perfumed knock-out gas in my face at the local department store (can anyone even point me to an actual news article regarding this?).
Being a tad neurotic, I do my best to find an expert to refute these things. Then just for grins, I send that anti-alarmist information back to the original sender plus everyone on the list. Never helps, though, and I still get the same e-mails back in my inbox at some later time.
I suppose I could look at these things as being the tabloid news articles of the Net. But none of them is anywhere near as amusing as something like "65-Year-Old Grandmother Gives Birth to Alien Triplets!" so I open them, gnash my teeth, find a way to prove them false, and send the corrected messages on their way. Perhaps instead of using fact against fiction, I ought to just augment the fiction? Next time I get an e-mail warning me never to heat water in the microwave because it could blow up in my face, I ought to add to it that microwave-heated water also causes plantars warts and dandruff. Hmmm. Wonder if that would come back to me as another warning?
Alarmist e-mails are definitely one of my pet peeves. And please don't get me started on those things that want me to send them to 10 friends in the next 10 seconds if I don't want to get hit and killed by a garbage truck...
Words and Silence by Anne Booth
58 minutes ago