The Tangled Web

Read this article and you could soon be driving around in a brand new pick-up truck. That’s precisely what happened to a man from Dawsonville. A man from Cleveland, after reading this article, was able to buy a brand new doublewide.

A woman from Helen only read the first three paragraphs. But she still got a promotion and a hefty increase in pay. Yet another woman, from Blue Ridge, who read nothing more than the first sentence, won a large bottle of apple juice at her local grocery store.

Of course, the biggest winner of them all was the woman from Gainesville who read this article twice. She wound up with tickets to the Super Bowl and a weekend in a fancy hotel in Atlanta.

On the other hand, a man from Tate didn’t even open his copy of the publication in which this article first appeared. Instead, he rolled it up and used it to start a fire. The next morning he awoke to find his car with a dead battery. A woman from Dahlonega read the title of this article, decided she wasn’t interested, and threw the paper away. Within minutes, she got a snag in her stockings and had to deal with the embarrassment for the rest of the day.

You shouldn’t have to read between the lines to recognize that good things happen to those who take the time to read this article. On the other hand, not reading this article could have negative effects on your daily routine.

There’s one other thing you should know before you start waiting for the Bluebird of Happiness to lead the Publishers Clearing House prize award team to your door. Reading the article is not enough… not if you want the really great strokes of luck to swing your way.

To reap the greatest benefits of this article, you must send copies of it to at least ten people you love. Each of those ten people must read it at least once and pass it on to ten of their loved ones. In addition, they must send a copy back to you. Also, each of the ten people that received a copy of the article from your loved one must send a copy back to you… and so on.

If all things go as they should, within a month, you’ll be the proud owner of over ten thousand copies of this article. Maybe then you’ll stop believing in the power of chain letters!

Gotcha!

You might guess I’ve been spending too much time surfing the web and trading e-mail with friends and relatives. You’re absolutely right. However, the time I’ve spent staring at my computer screen has been quite enlightening.

Politicians, church leaders, and other civic-minded people frequently voice objections to the web. Their biggest concern is that children have easy access to adult themes. I’d have to agree with that assessment. However, I have an additional concern. That concern is one that is often overlooked by not only the aforementioned group of leaders, but the computer geeks and gurus as well.

Put bluntly, too many adults have easy access to childish themes. In simple terms, adults – who long ago should’ve put childish things aside – are flooding the network with chain letters and urban legends.

Most users who frequent the web and use e-mail are fearful of computer viruses. Computer viruses come in two basic flavors; the type that erases all the programs and data on your personal computer, and the type that clogs a network with nonsensical traffic.

The clowns who create and spread viruses are criminals who should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. People who get their kicks by destroying the property of others are mindless idiots who should have their computers taken away from them. They should be made to stand in the corner of their cell for one hour for every file their virus erased.

Recall the second type of virus I mentioned is one that clogs the network with nonsensical traffic. That’s precisely what a chain letter does. When the U.S. Postal Service is used, the burden of the extra mail is at least paid for. Even then, the Postal Inspectors watch very closely to make sure the chain letter isn’t a scam designed to take money from unsuspecting fools.

Is anyone overseeing the chain letters on the Web? I doubt it.

Urban Legends are a totally different story. If you recognize them for what they are, they can be extremely humorous. If you make the mistake of taking them seriously, you can be made to look very foolish indeed.

Jan Harold Brunvand, author of “Curses! Broiled Again!” and many similar books, introduced me to the concept of Urban Legends. One of the key elements, according to Brunvand, is the “FOAF” which translates to a Friend Of A Friend. The FOAF is normally the victim of the tale. At other times, the FOAF is the person who discovered the story and passed the information along.

For example, the story that explains the title of Brunvand’s first book on the subject is this. A young lady, preparing to be a bridesmaid, spent an inordinate amount of time in a tanning bed. In fact, she spent time in numerous tanning beds because each tanning studio limited the length of time a person could spend in a bed. The young lady wanted a “terrific” tan, so she frequented several studios until she got the desired effect.

At the wedding, she looked great. However, she didn’t feel great; she felt rather ill. To make matters worse, she was giving off an offensive odor.

Over the next few days she felt and smelled worse and worse. Finally she went to the doctor. After careful examination, it was determined that she had partially cooked all her internal organs. In her effort to get a tan, she had roasted herself!

While none of this story is true, people have taken it as truth and warned their loved ones away from tanning beds.

The Urban Legends currently making the rounds on the Web are equally ridiculous.

One concerns a woman who ate a taco containing a pregnant cockroach. The insect eggs embedded themselves in the tissue of her mouth and caused her extreme discomfort. The unstated message was to stay away from the restaurant serving the tacos. I won’t mention the name of the restaurant because the story is not in the least bit true. I don’t want people to avoid eating anywhere because of something I’ve said in this article.

Another story explains that Kentucky Friend Chicken changed its name to KFC because they now serve something other than chicken.

I’m mentioning the name of this restaurant because the story is unbelievably unbelievable. Can you believe that?

According to this outrageous tale, scientists invented a way to create a “chicken-like” creature with no head, feet, or feathers. It is “fed” through tubes until big enough to fill a bucket. Supposedly, KFC saves a fortune by not having to cut off the heads and feet. They save another fortune by not having to pluck the birds.

What the original storyteller overlooked is the fortune it would cost to create such a bird. It would probably cost another fortune to keep their employees quiet about it.

I certainly hope none of our readers believes any of these Urban Legends. I’d hate to see folks picketing various businesses because of unsubstantiated stories floating through their e-mail boxes. I know our readers are above average in intelligence, better looking than most folks, and of a higher social standing than the people who pass along these weird tales. I have the greatest confidence in our faithful readers.

Now, don’t forget to send ten copies of this article to the people you love most. I’ll check back with you next month to see how many copies you’ve collected.

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