Seriously! I heard from a friend's friend of a friend!
Ladies and gents, I want you to check out that link. As you know, Snopes.com investigates rumors and Urban Legends to prove whether they are real or fake.
I walked into a frenzy-in-progress when I arrived at work this morning. The big buzz that had all the ladies panicking was a new Urban Legend about a gang initiation. Gang members nation wide are gathering today (no wait it was yesterday, no it's tomorrow..who knows really) at your local Wal-Mart to kill/rob/moon 3 random white women.
So let's lay out our characters. There is me, the Avon Lady (remember she sits not 5 ft from me everyday), the Boss Lady, and the lady that was trying to be a helpful informant (I'll call her Shirley. Oops wait, that's her real name, oh well). I'm gonna break down the conversation and tell you guys what Shirley was saying, followed by my first thoughts and reactions in 1st person (I'll try to keep them in parenthesis to avoid confusion).
OPENING OF SCENE
It's the morning of March 19th, 2009, 8:00 a.m. on the dot. Elaine enters, stage right. Walks to her desk and sits down as she turns on her monitor. She is upset when she discovers the internet is down. Again.
Enter Shirley, stage right. She is frantic after talking to one of the couriers.
Shirley: "Guys I don't know if you have heard or not..."
Avon Lady: "Oh yes, I have heard. It's been all over the news.Wal-Mart has even bumped up security."
Boss Lady: "Keba junta febba wa!" (trasnlation: I don't know what she said, but something poured out of her mouth. So i figured I would have her speak Ewok.)
Elaine: "Wait, what? What's going on?" (My initial impression was that a coworker got hurt or something.)
Shirley: "Yeah, Kathy (an ex-coworker) said [so-and-so called her, and so-and-so called him to tell her.] Because you know, she called me because I don't have a TV." (Wait, hold up. She said that she said that he said that she said? uh-oh, either someone we know got hurt during a burglary in the Wal-Mart parking lot (not a surprise), or this is another urban legend. By the way the [ and ] means I don't exactly remember what she said, it's kinda paraphrased. But apparently there were 4 people involved in the "Telephone Game." First sign of an urban legend.)
Elaine: Ok, wait wait wait. What is going on?"
Shirley (calming down a bit): "There will be gang initiations at Wal-Mart. So-and-so is on her way there now and I told her not to go!"
Elaine: "Gang initiation?" (In my mind, I was rolling my eyes. Omg are you serious? I kinda turned back around facing my monitor, intending to forget about it. It definitely was an Urban Legend.)
Elaine (turns back around to face Shirley): "Where did you hear this?"
Shirley: "It was on the news!" (Ok, so I know SHE didn't see it because she just said she doesn't have a TV).
Avon Lady: "Yeah, they said they bumped up security at the Wal-Mart. I saw it on the new last night myself." (Crap, the news is reporting it. Maybe it's true?)
Elaine: "Which Wal-Mart? Arkansas or Texas side?"
Shirley: "All of 'em! It's nationwide!"
Elaine rolls her eyes in her mind again. It's just too much U.L. to believe.
Elaine: "When?" (At this point, no one knew for sure. I couldn't get an exact date out of em. This weekend, tonight, last week, who knows. I was jones-ing for Snopes.com so bad so I could disprove it.)
Boss Lady: " Jubba ha wonta hie!"
Elaine: "Guys, this sounds like nothing more than an Urban Legend."
Avon Lady: "Yeah, that's what the news called it last night! I couldn't think of the name. I knew it has something to do with medieval."
Elaine: "..................." (Oh Christ on a bicycle. Medieval?? What in the name of Tom Selleck's mustache is she talking about?)
Shirley exits, stage right.
Boss Lady, who has now moved from her desk to near the stage exit while holding her trusty Ewok spear, stops to listen.
Elaine: "When the internet comes back up, I'm checking out Snopes.com."
END OF SCENE
I had to tell them what Snopes was about. About 5 minutes later, the internet was up and running. So I go to my iGoogle page and check out my nifty Urban Legend Add On and sure enough, there it was: "Wal-Martyrd." I told Avon Lady to come check it out since she was the only one left in the office. I tried to splurt my theory on how it was false, saying that gangs aren't going top co-operate with each other to organize a mass initiation at Wal-Mart(remember my blog about Avon Selling the T-Virus and how she reacted? Gangs hate each other, don't they? She looked at me as if to say, "You naive twit." Afterwards, I could see her point of one huge nationwide gang that could possibly do it. Ok so yeah, I was being a little naive. Touche, Avon Madame . But it is still and Urban Legend and I never said I was an expert on gangs.
I'm not claiming to be an expert on Urban Legends either, but I am very familiar with the subject. I wrote a research paper on several of them back in college because the stories have always fascinated me. Some are just completely ridiculous and some are really terrifying (ie, waking up in a tub full of ice with a kidney missing, etc). So I do know some of the folklore and urban tales, and some of the signs that scream, "It's a rumor!"
I'm not doubting the evil nature of people who intend to kill, either. There are very intelligent gang leaders out there who can use this kind of hysteria to their advantage. Something that wasn't true to begin with can all of a sudden become reality, and then the thing people feared is actually happening and they have no clue that it wasn't true to begin with. Craziness!
Considering the shooting at Central Mall about 3 weeks ago, I can see how this Urban Legend could put people into a frantic state of mind. Now, I haven't been able to find anything on the Central Mall shooting myself, and I'm wondering if it is a rumor myself. Please share links if you have them. And please don't comment and say "Yes it happened! My niece's boyfriend's cousin was there!" I don't care who you are, I won't believe it. "He-said, She-said" is not a reliable source of information.
Ah, and the day is still young!