For a brief time I thought I had made some headway, but as usual I was wrong. This showed up this morning in my office e-mail:
REMEMBER: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public next month.
REMINDER.... all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing
Companies and you will start to receive sale calls.
... YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS
To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone:
It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your
Time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the
Cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a
Different phone number.
HELP OTHERS BY PASSING THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS... It takes about 20 Seconds.
The nice woman who sent this to me also, of course, sent it to a long list of other recipients. Thus perpetuating the falsehood. Innocently, sure, but nevertheless perpetuating a falsehood. (See "Celling Your Soul" at the Urban Legends Reference Pages.)
This is far from the first such alarm that this well-meaning correspondent has sent, but it's the first in quite awhile to come to me. Which is why I had lulled myself into thinking that I had, well, wised her up a little. For in the past when she's sent these little bits of blarney, I have--gently, in a spirit of helpfulness--instructed her that hotels cannot get your credit-card information from your room key card; you cannot unlock your car by pressing certain buttons on your cell phone; a certain soap company is not in league with the devil; an dnobody is going to start charging you for e-mail in order to subsidize the post office.
Since I hadn't heard from her in awhile, I thought I had gotten through. Now I suspect she just quit sending me things because she was tired of my being a spoilsport.
Anyhow, I am faced with the usual dilemma:
A. Do I try to be helpful and (once again) point out to this woman that not everything that someone forwards to her is to be believed, and in fact a great deal of it should be dismissed out of hand (i.e., do I be a spoilsport)?
B. Do I sigh, and shrug, and lament the gullibility of certain of my fellow travelers, and let her have the pleasure of thinking she is performing a public service by eternalizing these canards and hoaxes) i.e., do I be an enabler)?
I'm leaning toward B, if only because I'm in the second week of a cold and very tired ...