An earlier blog version was first posted as "Tick Epidemic" at "The Elder Storytelling Place."
A lot of fun in teasing, joking and craziness that can include practical jokes occurs between friends through the years. Some exchanges happen in person, other interactions with more distant friends occur by letter, in recent years more easily by phone and for some via email today. One such area of humorous expression on the Internet involves distributing written information presented as accurate, that actually is false.
Some unknown third party foists on to others,in jest, their untrue written concoction of phony facts that generally reads as though it’s quite authentic. Then in a gesture of caring and concern well-intentioned individuals, believing the information to be true, forward these erroneous facts to their friends and family. Examples of such jest seem to materialize frequently disguised as diet and health warnings. Checking the authenticity of these story facts, referred to as "urban legends," is often wise.
A friend did once send me such a warning. Thinking she had probably checked the veracity of the facts, I didn't bother to verify the accuracy before forwarding the information to another friend. That friend, much more Internet savvy than I, immediately recognized the long known lack of legitimacy of this data, and set me straight. Naturally, I had great fun informing my other friend her story was bogus. She has not forgotten though considerable time has passed since then.
I recently received a message from her stating that she has now developed an intense dislike toward sending diet, health and other warning emails to friends. She told me that a recent experience was so serious, however, she was disregarding this aversion, just this once, to send me this warning. She said, "I had someone come to the door who told me there was a tick epidemic and to take off all my clothes." She continued, "If someone comes to your door and tells you the same thing, don't do it!" I'm so glad I have a friend that cares so much about me.
I am reminded of a factual story another friend told me that contrasts with the fictional stories described above. He sometimes provides training for people with short term memory problems. Such difficulties manifest themselves in many ways, sometimes involving the person forgetting to perform ordinary daily activities like brushing their teeth, or dressing, even how to do so. Some may, irritatingly to others, keep repeating words they've just said. What is actually forgotten is unique to each individual.
It seems my friend had an adult woman patient with serious short term memory problems. He went to her home for their regular scheduled morning training session, then knocked on her door as usual. When she opened the door, he was quite startled to observe that she was totally nude. He quickly recovered his composure, then said in a manner and tone to not alarm her, "Oh, Jean, I see you forgot to put on your clothes today." Glancing down, she noticed her unclothed body apparently for the first time that morning. She responded, quite unembarrassed, "Why yes, I see I did." She quickly excused herself to her bedroom to get dressed as she motioned him into the living room to wait for her.
When fully dressed, she re-joined him. They immediately focused their attention on continuing tasks to assist her in increasing her memory skills and to develop ways to cope with the challenges in the meantime.
I find humor in many sources with some originating in creative minds, others in the interpretation of real life events. Either way, interesting and humorous stories can evolve to evoke my chuckles. The laughs those tales generate are just enough to release the brain chemicals called endorphins that science has proven provide a beneficial healing effect in our bodies. I think I'll give more thought to some of the humorous stories of my life as well as seeking such tales from others.