Thursday, January 27, 2011

Do Not Read

I should not read when I first wake up. Stuff just doesn’t make sense until I’ve had some coffee.

Yet I started checking my e-mail early...pre-coffee. Big mistake.

I get e-mail notifications from Freecycle, a great organization that has local websites for most major cities in the United States. They allow people to post stuff they would like to give to someone (no sales) rather than throw it in a landfill. People can also ask for items they need, free of charge. Great idea, right? It is unless you misread the e-mail subject line.

Bleary-eyed and caffeine-deficient I saw, “Wanted: Heavy Water”. My immediate thought was, “Oh my God – terrorists are asking for nuclear materials right here on Freecycle!”

That was enough to drive me to the pot (coffee pot). When I returned, all set to look up the number for Homeland Security, I realized that the poor soul I was ready to release the power of the armed forces onto was actually not a terrorist. The rest of the headline was actually, “Wanted: Heavy Water Bowl for Large Dog”.

Sometimes the headlines are genuinely weird though, like this one for, “Spider Infested Box Springs”.


I mean, really?

Headlines can also just be easily misinterpreted, due to poor wording or bad punctuation, like:

  • Include Your Children When Baking Cookies
  • Miners Refuse to Work After Death
  • Stolen Painting Found by Tree
  • Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
  • Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
  • Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
  • Eye Drops Off Shelf

So please, don’t read before you’ve had your coffee, tea or energy drink, or you could end up with spider-infested nuclear weapons.

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