Danger, Beware, Danger!!!

Since it’s too early to write about the Super Tuesday results, I might as well take some time to perform a valuable public service and pass along an urgent warning to my loyal readers. The Gullibility Virus is once again spreading rampantly around the Internet. Be very careful to avoid being its next victim! You could receive it from one of your closest friends. Don’t open any email from anybody you know, or anybody you don’t know!!

I suppose that by now I should be immune to being irritated to this stuff, due to prolonged exposure. But maybe it’s one of those irritants that increases sensitivity. I just can’t comprehend what passes for thought in the minds of some people. If they received the following warning:

Warning! Your face is so ugly it would stop a clock! Don’t go near any clocks or they will shatter and fatally injure you! This is true! I asked your mother and she said it’s true!! Pass this warning along to all your friends.

they would probably obediently pass the warning to everybody they know. After all, if your own mother says you’re ugly, she must know. And, if somebody tells you she said it, there’s no point in asking her whether she really did. It says right there in the email that she did.

In case you haven’t guessed by now, I got another one of those moronic breathless warnings telling me my computer will burst into flames if I open a certain emali message. And, of course, the message said: “I just verified this with Snopes and it is REAL. ALSO WENT TO TRUTH OR FICTION AND IT’S on their site also.”

Some of these clueless morons have had the word “Snopes” pounded into their head so many times by people futilely trying to educate them that it’s starting to sink in. So when a warning says it’s been verified by Snopes, then by God, this one is real. That smartypants geek won’t be able to sneer at them this time!

Unfortunately, they forget that the smartypants geek will actually look at Snopes, and not just accept somebody else’s word that Mom called him ugly. And checking the alleged source on this one reveals that it’s a combination of an outdated warning and a hoax.

Aside from the false reference to a respected source that nobody will check, there was another stroke of brilliance in this one that will probably be missed by too many people. “If you receive a mail called ‘invitation’, though sent by a friend, do not open it and shut down your computer immediately.”

Okaaay … shut down your computer immediately … and then what? If it was so urgent to shut it down immediately, then it’s probably not safe to turn it back on … ever. That dangerous virus is just in there waiting to “destroy the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept.”

In fact, the Internet would be a safer place if the people who believe this kind of crap would immediately turn off their computers and leave them off permanently.

This reminds me of a warning that was popular a few years ago. It warned people about some destructive virus that was circulating, and (allegedly) had been reported by all the popular anti-virus vendors, as well as Microsoft. (Microsoft doesn’t report viruses, they sell them). The warning carried detailed instructions for digging deep into some obscure Windows system folder, and if you found a file with a certain name, that meant your computer was infected, and the file should be deleted.

Of course, this was a file which was present on every Windows system, so everybody who followed the instructions discovered that they had been infected with this horrible virus. Unfortunately, the file was not vital, so following the instructions to delete it didn’t do any real harm. It would have been much better if people had been instructed to do something that would have totally trashed their system. That might have made a few of them just a little more skeptical about swallowing any pill somebody handed them.

The amusing thing about this is that there was also a joke circulating at about the same time, which said something like:

This is the redneck virus. We’re not smart enough to write virus programs, so please erase your hard disk and then send this to all your friends.

A lot of people got a chuckle out of that. But a lot of people chuckling were the same ones who were actually fooled by the above “warning”, which was essentially the same message: “Delete part of your operating system and pass this on to all your friends.” So a “redneck virus” actually was effective when worded properly. There are people stupid enough to follow instructions like that. And they can’t wait to do you a favor by bombarding you with their stupidity. After all, as today’s warning said:
“It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it “. And by God, they’re going to do everything they can to make sure everybody they know receives it at least 25 times.

So if you receive some dire warning that urges you to send it to everybody you know, please forget you know me.

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