Something happened last week that reminds me a little of the night I went snipe hunting, while on a float trip on the Missouri River through north central Montana.
I was 19 and in my first year of college. I was pretty naive, never being around a lot of people back on the ranch. When my college buddies started bringing out the sacks and flashlights to go gather up a few snipes I was first in line. But I wasn't the only one, just the most eager. Needless to say it proved how gullible I was. There weren't any snipes, but the story did take an unusual twist. About a half hour into the adventure, while walking through a meadow in high river grass, sack in one hand, dim flashlight in the other, I fell into an old well and it took the boys a couple hours to find me.
Last week I reluctantly used a forwarded e-mail message from a friend in Montana as the basis for my editorial. I have never forwarded one of those messages and seldom ever read them, but like I said last week in my editorial the message, Paradox in Our Time, had a simple and realistic message that liked and so I passed it on. And as gullible as I am I believed it to be written by George Carlin. After all it said it was and there wasn't any reason to believe differently. I thought it was a little too nice for someone so gross and disgusting, but who knows, I figured this guy might be trying to change his image. No chance. I have since learned that in his web page he very emphatically denied he had anything to do with the Paradox and referred to the piece as a sappy load of something.
Thanks to the many e-mails and calls I know more about this piece than I ever wanted to. There were a couple calls from friends letting me know they had received it months ago and it wasn't Carlin's work. Then I was sent an e-mail that it was written by a student who witnessed the Columbine shootings. Then the most recent fax message came from a rather smug reader informing me that the true author was a former pastor in Seattle that reportedly sexually assaulted 17 members of his church. All these are, of course second hand and either e-mailed to me or faxed to me. Therefore for those of you who have a lot of time on your hands and really care, I would suggest doing a little research for yourself.
It's still a good piece, regardless of who wrote it or who is credited for it, It is so true with the way the world is today.
As a result of this little fiasco I will probably suffer from the guilt of never forwarding or reading any of the 10 billion internet chain letters sent to me by people who actually believe that if you send this you will live forever and your grandchildren will be prosperous and happy. If people are going to forward something, at least send something mildly amusing or like the Paradox, something sappy or mushy. Usually the instructions tell you to send it to 20 of your closest friends. Sounds like a good way to loose a few of them if you send too many of these. If you get a chain letter that's threatening to leave you shag less or luckless for the rest of your life, delete it. If it's funny, send it on. I can't imagine sending something that would irritate people by making them feel guilty about a leper in Botswana with no teeth who has been tied to a dead elephant for 27 years and whose only salvation is the five cents per letter he'll receive if you forward this email.
Snipe hunting actually sounds like a better idea.