The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

June 30, 2014

You can fool me some of the time, but I’m not that gullible

Sunday, June 29, 2014 — I don’t consider myself gullible in the least bit.

But I used to be.

Growing up on a farm in rural eastern North Carolina, you didn’t get exposed to many new things. So when someone told you something, unless they were turning blue in the face and biting the inside of their cheeks to prevent themselves from spilling the beans, you pretty much took people for their word as the gospel truth.

(Speaking in my old grandpa voice) Plus, back in my day, we didn’t have those fangled encyclopedias on a TV you call a computer. We had actual encyclopedias you had to read. We couldn’t go bee-boop-bee-boop and look something up on that thing you call the Internet. We had to flip through hundreds of books to get the answer. Hundreds!

And you had to trek 20 miles in the snow uphill to get those encyclopedias, too.

Needless to say, the Internet has changed things when it comes to news, information and other forms of communication. It’s very easy now to look things up quickly on your computer, tablet or even have the news delivered to you in the form of a message to your phone.

At the same time, when I was growing up, we didn’t really need to worry about hoaxes, half-truths urban legends and other forms of news and information that just wasn’t true or completely made up. You took Walter Cronkite for every word he said, you believed Tom Brokaw, you trusted Dan Rather ... until he went bat crazy and tried to paint President Bush as a nutzo in the Air National Guard story he essentially concocted.

Of course, you did have the occassional unexplained UFO sighting, ghost story or tall tale that you may have wanted to believe was true but really wasn’t. And, in truth, politicians told whoppers almost as big then as they do now. We didn’t believe them then, either.

So it’s not often that someone gets fooled by something they read or (think) they see somewhere.

But every once in a while ...

Earlier this week, I saw a news story that made me do a double-take. It was about a woman in Portland, Oregon, who was eight months pregnant with a girl. The woman was experiencing pains that made her think she was going into labor. She went to the hospital and was examined by her doctor, who determined her baby ... get this ... was pregnant herself.

SAY WHAT?

I was completely baffled by this and read on with increased interest. The report said that the doctor had never seen anything like this before and was stumped at how this could even happen.

The story stated the youngest person to ever become pregnant was Lina Medina, a Peruvian girl who gave birth at just under 6 years old. Medina was diagnosed with Precocious puberty, a rare disorder that causes puberty in extremely young children.

After I read the full story, I began to wonder. Sure enough, after entering a search term in Google I found what I was looking for.

This story was a hoax. I had been duped.

It turns out the website where I read the story, Empirenews.net, was a satirical site. Several other websites had quickly debunked the story and the ruse was exposed.

The part about Lina Medina was in fact true. The rest was not.

For a brief moment, I felt stupid. And I guess I should have. I mean, who’s ever heard of a baby having a baby? Then again, these days, I’m quite astounded by some of the things I read.

And I’m not talking about the things I read in the National Enquirer or in the Weekly World News, that of the famous stories like how Hillary Clinton adopted an alien baby.

Then again, the Enquirer did expose John Edwards as a cheater and baby-daddy to one Rielle Hunter. So you see where I’m coming from?

I guess I sometimes put too much faith in what I am reading only to get burned by the harsh and bitter taste of reality when it hits me.

So, if you read this particular story, too, and were hoodwinked at the same time, I’ve got good news. I’ve looked up some other recent news topics that have been discussed lately and I’ve found the answers to those, too.

For example, did you know giving your dog ice water won’t cause him to bloat. There’s been several stories that I’ve seen about how ice water was bad for dogs for this reason. But vets have debunked that as untrue.

Other things I’ve discovered as false include:

n Stephanie Courtney, the actress who plays Flo in commericals for Progressive Insurance, did not die in an automobile accident. Neither did Justin Bieber or half a dozen other actors and celebrities we’ve read about recently. Elvis, unfortunately, is still dead.

n Tom Hanks took photos in a bar with a drunk guy. I saw this story the other day and didn’t believe it. The myth says Hanks saw the guy, sat with him and used his phone to take the photos. In truth, the fan was real and decided to appear drunk and passed out in the photos. Whatever.

n 9/11 was an inside job by the government. Anybody who believes this should find the nearest insane asylum, enter a padded room, pull the door shut and never come out again.

n Hillary and Bill Clinton were indeed not in the poor house when they left the White House in 2001. Bill, however, did have a little black book of babes as big as one of those encyclopedias I mentioned earlier.

n Lois Lerner’s IRS emails have unexplainably disappeared and the computers used to send those emails crashed and were destroyed.

Yeah ... and you take me as being THAT gullible?

To submit story ideas, contact Jason O. Boyd at jason@stanlynewspress.com or (704) 982-2121 ext. 21.

 

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