How many times have you received an email from someone and immediately jumped on the bandwagon, hitting the button on your computer because you decided that it needed to be shared immediately? I know, I’ve done it do. You know what that gives birth to?
The Urban Legend.
When we were little, we played a game called, “Telephone.” We sat in a circle and one of us would whisper a secret in the ear of our neighbor. It had to be a l-o-n-g story. The recipient of the tale would whisper in the next person’s ear, and so on and so on until the circle was complete. The last person in the circle had to repeat whatever it was that was told to them. We learned a great deal from that game: How easily information gets corrupted by indirect communication instead of going directly to the source for the facts.
Here is an example of a group of eight-year-old’s playing the game.
Sally begins with, “My mother got me a kitten from the SPCA on her way to Grandma’s house on Saturday. It has black and had white spots on her paws. I wanted a brown kitten but mommy said this kitten was lonely and she was getting picked on by the other cats, so mommy wanted me to have her. Grandma says she’s special.”
The story gets passed around the circle, through about ten children and this is what Bobby says he heard when he shares the story at the end of the line,
“Sally went with her mommy to get Grandma a kitten yesterday. The man at the shelter gave them the meanest kitten they had because it was biting all the other cats. It bit her Grandma’s hand and now she is in the hospital. Sally has to go and see her because she is so lonely there and all the nurses are picking on her. Sally says she is a really special Grandma and she hopes her mom brings her home to live with them. They gave the kitten back”
You get the picture – most of the original information is still there (twisted, but there) – and it still gets passed from one person to the next who adds their own bit of the story. It makes for the perfect Urban Legend.
Take for instance what happened recently with the bracelet confusion. You know those silicone bracelets that everyone is wearing for certain causes: They have become a low-cost awareness tool for organizations and charity groups.
Cyclist Lance Armstrong developed testicular cancer that metastasized to his brain and lungs in 1996. Lance founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the motto of the Foundation is “Live Strong” and bracelets bearing that motto emblazoned on yellow are being sold worldwide. Everyone I know is wearing one.
Enter the latest Urban Legend that is being passed over the Internet:
These “Live Strong” bracelets are being mistaken for Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) warnings. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Medical personnel, emergency personnel must have a LIVING WILL or an ADVANCE DIRECTIVE before they will cease life-saving precautions. Not a single person has died as a result of wearing a Lance Armstrong bracelet.
Snopes.com has declared this Live Strong bracelet as the Urban Legend that is the latest in emails that are circulating around the globe via the Internet.
Sounds like our little friends in the “telephone” game, doesn’t it?
Take heed before you forward that next email. You can always check it out first at www.Snopes.com
There is even a story about a farmer in southern Minnesota who created a Valentine’s Day gift for his wife of 37 years in their farm field about 12 miles southwest of Albert Lea. He used manure because he thought, “nothing says “I love you” like a half-mile wide heart made out of manure.”
Is it an Urban Legend? Unfortunately, that one is TRUE.
Makes you think your sweetheart is a great guy if he gives you flowers or candy, right?