The Positive Effect of the Internet Hoax

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comI have always tried to keep up with what’s going on in the world.

That’s tougher than it used to be. With all the communication channels these days, I feel like I spend a great deal of time separating the wheat from the chaff.

To make matters worse, the explosion of social media has turned everyone into their own little reporter. We share the things that are important to us — much of which is worthless to our friends in the online world, but largely harmless.

My newest pet peeve, though, is when people share something before they confirm whether it’s true or not.

No, Bill Gates did not give that high school commencement speech. And he’s not going to give you money for forwarding his chain letter, either.

No, you can’t punch a shark in the nose to keep him from attacking you.

Naturally, I was a little leery when I saw where the World Health Organization had come up with new classifications for human aging.

Here is the new classification according to what I read:

• 0-17 years old: underage

• 18-65 years old: youth/young people

• 66-79 years old: middle-aged

  • 80-99 years old: elderly/senior
  • 100+ years old: long-lived elderly

After I read it, I suddenly felt better. I took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. I had a little more bounce in my step. I went outside and played with the dog.

I broke the rake handle while raking, for heaven’s sake. I was 17 again.

I wanted this to be true. I really did. It was going to make for some great column material. I had already come up with some 14-karat gold zingers, including one about Granny Clampett and her “rheumatiz medicine.”

Good news is hard to find these days, and I was going to be the knight in shining armor who brought you a nugget today. I was going to provide you with the inspiration to make you want to go out and break your own rake handle.

This morning I got my youthful self up and started searching to find some corroboration of the WHO story. Something this big would’ve certainly been covered in all the major newspapers.

After several minutes, I couldn’t find anything credible.

Then I thought maybe the report was released just as some huge news event happened and it slipped under the radar.

I thought I hit pay dirt when I did find a WHO report on aging. It was 233 pages long, but I delved into it. My eyes glazed over after a couple of minutes, though, because those scientists write like scientists. I resorted to entering relevant words in the search function and got nothing.


You may find this difficult to believe, but those crazy kids in the white coats in Geneva don’t consider me to still be a youth.

Maybe this whole experience has been an exercise in the old “age is just a number” argument.

I really did break the rake handle, after all. I really did go out and play with the dog.

I don’t need the World Health Organization to label me as a youth. I just need a little hoax to get me moving.

Look out, sharks, I may just punch one of you in the nose one day.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:

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