This is something I've gotten used to seeing from people who flood my inbox with hoaxes, urban legends and other half-baked forwarded crap. No matter how patient and urbane my explanation of why Neiman Marcus never charged $250 US for a cookie recipe or why there will never be a cute cartoon popping up on one's screen for forwarding a fixed number of text e-mails, I can still expect to recieve a hostile and defensive, "Well, if it's not true, it ought to be" in reply.

Today someone sent me an e-mail claiming that AOL and Intel were attempting to merge and Microsoft would send you money if you forwarded this e-mail to as many people as possible. I spent half an hour composing a response that debunked the silly hoak line by line. I explained why AOL and Intel probably weren't merging. I told them why the idea of Microsoft tracking your e-mail was fairly ridiculous. I pointed out that Microsoft probably wouldn't pay anyone money for a project started by AOL and Intel. I refrained from pointing out the poor usage and spelling of the "attorney" who supposedly initially crafted the e-mail. I appended links to two helpful websites that supported my contention that this was a hoax.

What did I get in return? A terse, one-sentence reply, "If it isn't true, it ought to be". There was a time when I naively believed that people would be genuinely grateful to me for pointing out when they have erroneously sent something that just is not quite true and subsequently reward me with a reduction of ridiculous crap in my inbox. I was genuinely grateful when, in my green and inexperienced days some six years ago, someone corrected me when I moronically forwarded the infamous Neiman Marcus Cookie Legend without pausing to think first. But all I get for my pains is righteous indignation. And the crap still fills my inbox. Even now I can expect to receive something about gerbils being implausibly forced inside human bodily orifices or foolish quotes that some politico never really made.

Sure, in the world where I make up things and they are true, AOL and Intel send me hefty checks for sitting on my ass and forwarding things. And I'm putting one over on the evil, massive Neiman Marcus by forwarding their overpriced cookie recipe. But that isn't this world, and just because something ought to be doesn't mean it is.

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