If you don’t look you probably won’t find it

You’ve seen the cute emails that take on a life of their own. There are chain letters, urban legends, good jokes, bad jokes, and inspirational stories. One of these messages made its way to me this morning at work. It began, “We rarely get a chance to see another country’s editorial about the USA. I think this is very much worth reading and passing on. It says a lot,.” If you are on the same distribution lists that I seem to be on, you would know that what followed was a patriotic, flag waving extravaganza which delivered its message with all the subtlety of Wrestlemania. In my role as office cynic, it is my job to bring everyone back down to earth. Without thinking about consequences, I began to type a “reply to all” which asked whether the author of original message ever looked up a European news source on the web. My guess is if they did they wouldn’t think commentary about the good ‘ole USA was particularly rare. If commentary about the USA is not a rare occurrence on the web, then the only reason the author’s CHANCES of seeing such commentary would be low is if he or she didn’t have access to the internet. Chance (as far as I’m concerned, in this context) is not a function of actual viewing, but rather a function of opportunity or availability. Since the author was sending this message via the internet, he or she must have access to it, meaning there was plenty opportunity. My conclusion from all of this was that the author must not have been looking too hard. Maybe what they meant to say was that we don’t get much chance to see FAVORABLE commentary about the USA. Of course if you admit that then it takes a little of the luster out of the positive glow of the message, but at least it would be honest.

Funny thing about the truth, it’s not always simple.

And by the way, I never did send my reply.

Is “toothache” one word?