I know, right? There's a lot of stupid people out there, but even the most functionally retarded among them knows by December 16 that they've been living almost an entire year in 2008. That's 19 years after Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, 39 years after the invention of the internet in general, and a whopping 172 years after Charles Babbage invented the first computer, the analytical engine. In 2008, there are more computers than there are people in this nation, and almost all of them are connected to the internet - as are cell phones, music players, wrist watches... There are even toasters and alarm clocks that are connected to the internet.
So why the FUCK don't people use these miracles of modern ingenuity to check Snopes.com whenever a hyperbolic, exclamation-mark filled email warns them about complete bullshit instead of just hitting the stupid "Forward" button?
The latest one to hit my inbox? The "Swiffer Wetjet Will Kill Your Puppy In The Liver!" email:
Subject: FW: SWIFFER WETJET WARNING
From: [Name Withheld]
I checked with snoopes this one is true.
Take care of your pets
[note from me - whoever "HV" was on the original chain, he or she is a FUCKING LIAR.]
-----Inline Message Follows-----
Subject: SWIFFER WETJET
Recently someone had to have their 5-year old German Shepherd dog put down due
To liver failure. The dog was completely healthy until
A few weeks ago, so they
Had a necropsy done to see what the cause was. The
Liver levels were
Unbelievable, as if the d og had ingested poison of
Some kind. The dog is kept
Inside, and when he's outside, someone's with him, so
The idea of him
Getting into something unknown was hard to believe..
My neighbor started going through all the items in the
House. When he got to
The Swiffer Wetjet, he noticed, in very tiny print, a
Warning which stated
'may be harmful to small children and animals.' He
Called the company to
Ask what the contents of the cleaning agent are and
Was astounded to find out
That antifreeze is one of the ingredients (actually,
He was told it's a
Compound which is one molecule away from antifreeze).
Therefore , just by the
Dog walking on the floor cleaned with the solution,
Then lickin g its=2 0own paws,
It ingested enough of the solution to destroy its
Soon after his dog's death, his housekeepers' two cats
Also died of
Liver failure. They both used the Swiffer Wetjet for
Quick cleanups on their
Floors. Necropsies weren't done on the cats, so they
Couldn't file a
Lawsuit, but he asked that we spread the word to as
Many people as possible so
They don't lose
This is equally harmful to babies and small children
That play on the floor a
Lot and put their fingers in their mouths a lot.
PLEASE, EVEN IF YOU DO NOT HAVE BABIES, SMALL CHILDREN
OR OWN A PET;
PLEASE FORWARD THIS ON! YOU MAY NOT HAVE ANY CHILDREN
OR PETS BUT SOME OF YOU
HAVE FRIENDS OR FAMILY WITH PETS AND ALSO FAMILIES
WITH GRANDCHILDREN AND GREAT
(Sorry for the word wrapping. It came to me that way, and I'm not about to go copy-edit this hunk of filth.)
Now, Snopes has done a fine job of dissecting this email's vailidity based on their proven methods (antecdotal evidence, no hard facts, no case records, statements from Proctor & Gamble and the ASPCA, etc). But there's one aspect they didn't go into (probably because they're nice) that I would like to explore a bit (probably because I'm not nice).
Basic high school chemistry teaches us that "one molecule away from [x]" is completely meaningless. It's purely semantic how closely related one molecule is to another, and it's only worrisome based on your brain's comprehension of English and what words mean. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ACTUAL SCIENCE.
Saying that Swiffer WetJet cleaning solution is "one molecule away from anti-freeze - so it'll kill your pet like anti-freeze" is like saying that table salt is one atom away from chlorine, so you can clean your pool with it. It's borderline retarded. Only in a nation full of dummies could a statement like that even remotely bother anyone.
Think I'm being too hard on the poor animal lovers who fell for this? Think that I am insisting that any level of understanding in a specialized field for the general populace is unfair? Well, you're a dummy too.
Look, I write stupid books about myself for a living. I don't know jack fucking shit about chemistry. But I do understand what atoms are, what molecules are and how, when a mommy atom and a daddy atom love each other very much, they bond and form a substance, and that some substances in the world share similar building agents as others. Which means that me - an untrained non-expert who sat through high school chemestry class, understands that just because substances share root atoms doesn't make them the same (or even nearly the same... The same atom which makes a Hydrogen bomb go "BOOM" is found in your drinking water).
A basic level of understanding of how things work is not too much to ask of people. If you know how to press the "forward" button in your email client, you should also know how to Google shit. You don't even have to know the name Snopes to find it with a basic search for "Swiffer WetJet pets".
I sent out an email to the 300 or so people whose email addresses appeared in the chain of the conversation. It was worded civilly and explained the points I made above, but nicely. It also requested that everyone in the chain pass the information backward to everyone they've sent the email to. I stopped short of asking whoever "HV" was to go choke on a cock and die for lying to everyone the way they did.
What I'd ask of you, kind reader, is that you begin doing the same. Begin emailing anyone and everyone who forwards you nonsense. Let them know that, with the wildfire of email misinformation spreading as it does, that you've decided to become the fire marshal. Give them sources to check, call them on their bullshit if they say they checked them, and politely embarrass them into knocking this shit off (feel free to use letmegooglethatforyou.com's embarrassing Google forwarder. I love it and use it often, mostly on Jeremy).
I don't mind the email. I like contact with people. I don't consider it "spam." I do, however, consider it insulting and lazy that people claiming to care enough to pass this shit along, but don't ACTUALLY care enough to research the material and find out if, at the VERY least, they've been exposing their pet to danger all this time so maybe if something does crop up, they can let the vet know.