Abraham Lincoln once said: “It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and prove it.” Or something to that effect. As the things people say, both true and untrue, spread around the universe now at the speed of light on various public and internet forums, it’s becoming difficult for people to determine truth from fact.
For me, determining truth from fact began early. I was probably in the early years of country school when I encountered my first mistruth, although I’ve used it tongue-in-cheek off and on my whole life. “Watch out for girl germs.”
That was my first experience with listening to someone say something that maaaaaayyyyyy have been true. Or might have been. Or, could have been. Nevertheless, it’s been fun to use it off and on over the years. (Matter of fact, had I chosen to truly believe it, there are several encounters with the opposite sex I would have thankfully avoided.)
Since my brother and I had a little sister who wanted to follow us around, this saying probably led us to treat her less patiently than we should have.
Another saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” began when apple growers in Washington state first produced the Delicious apple. You know the one: It is gorgeous, has a hide like iron, and no taste.
But the iron hide meant it could be picked by machine. They thought it would sell like gangbusters, and when it didn’t, they hired a public relations advertising company to solve this problem. And that’s where we first learned that an apple a day would keep the doctor away. As that saying spread, Delicious apple sales went way up.
And we still believe that saying, right?
Right now we’re in an age of rapid information spread, and it’s taken most of us by surprise. For example, when the President of the most powerful nation on earth wonders out loud, once he heard that disinfectants like bleach kill the Covid virus, he speculated that maybe we could inject them. That spread like wildfire, even though he later clarified it to say that we shouldn’t inject them.
Well, Lysol stock went down, that’s for sure. And accidental poisonings caused by people ingesting disinfectants doubled. Again, we live in such an age that if something someone said has even a grain of truth, then it might be true, and if it might be true, let’s try it. (For an example: An apple a…..)
There is an example going on right now in a school in Florida, which instructed immunized teachers to stay away, citing the baseless claim that unvaccinated young women can be sterilized by associating with vaccinated people. The term that they’re using for this is “vaccine shed,” which came from the original research term of “virus shed,” which in turn referred to something else completely.
I myself like to take instances of such behavior and attribute folks believing such things to their likely position on the Bell curve of intelligence. But it’s happening all over, and we can’t all be on the bottom half of the curve.
As LIncoln said, maybe it’s better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open our mouths and prove it.
Vaccine shedding just happens to be the flavor of the month. One hesitates to even guess what the next one will be.
Oh, and before I forget, I have some ocean front property here in Minnesota I’m selling, if anyone is interested.