It happens every week.
I get one of those "Get $100 from Bill Gates," "Delete this virus," "Snakes in foreign-made coats" e-mails once a week or so.
Urban legends have become the bane of the technical revolution, circulated through e-mail and spawning Web sites and television shows.
And I am amazed how many people still take them as gospel.
Do they really believe Dave Matthews is dead, Coca-Cola is deadly and that one of the Joe Millionaire girls once starred in adult movies?
OK, ignore that last one.
Usually the messages I get are from my wife - she's forwarding them from friends or people in her office. I think I've finally got her conditioned to question the stories. Now she sends me the messages and asks if so-and-so is true, if a certain event really happened or if Penny Brown is still missing. (She's not, if you sent that message to friends.)
It doesn't take a Stanford graduate - a college named for Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford, but not after Harvard rebuffed their offer for a building (another common urban legend) - to question some of the stories. And it doesn't take a common boy from Thomson long to track down the truth, usually only a couple of key punches and mouse clicks.
So that's where I'm at in life: a poor writer on a mission to wipe out ridiculous stories, one e-mail at a time.
Someone save me ...
* * *
And some urban legends aren't really legends at all.
In Sunday's edition of The News-Times, an item in the Time Capsule section mentioned that 64 parcels around the lake were being made available for lease.
By Monday morning, I was getting two kinds of phone calls. One set was from confused readers who had called the Corps of Engineers and found the property wasn't available and it was all our fault. The other was a single call from the guy in charge of leasing Corps' property wondering why he was getting calls.
One problem - the item was a reprint from 1962. Yes, 41 years ago.
But that didn't stop people from really believing that the Corps was dangling land in Columbia, Elbert, Lincoln, and McCormick Counties for between $40 and $510 in front of their eyes.
As my cohort Barry Paschal said: "At least they are reading."
* * *
One more thing. In January, I talked about how I was being kept warm this winter by the red tape related to losing a coat in the coat check room at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Well, please allow me to stand corrected.
In the ensuing month, I've gotten a new coat and the folks at the center have been more than accommodating.
Who says most government agencies are operated by people who only see things in black and white? Oh yeah, I do. Thankfully, some people outside of Columbia County can see the gray in all things.
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