Last week, quite a few readers wanted to report an “error.” Here’s the story, from the 10 October (10/10/10!) issue:
“I figured I’d trap it and try to get it some medical attention,” said Alexander Alcantare. He had spotted an injured 8-foot alligator in Miami-Dade, Fla., so he “baited a hook, I got it, [and] I brought it over here,” he said. But “I couldn’t really handle him too good,” he said, perhaps because he only has one arm — he lost the other in a previous animal rescue attempt. The gator bit his remaining arm. He also says he was attacked by a tiger during a trip to the Congo. “That’s what happens when you deal with wild animals,” Alcantare said, “you’re going to get bitten.” Alcantare, who wasn’t severely injured, says he’s a hero, but because the gator bit a human, wildlife officials say it must be destroyed. Also, Alcantare complained, “Somehow, I ended up with a citation, and I gotta get a permit for my raccoon.” (WTVJ Miami, CNN) …He sounds like the kind of guy who shouldn’t be allowed to have a goldfish without a permit.
The relevant sentence: “He also says he was attacked by a tiger during a trip to the Congo.”
After a flood of reports of my “error,” I finally put a note on the errata page, “Come on! The ‘tiger in the Congo’ isn’t an error, it’s part of the point!” Happily, that settled it …for the Premium subscribers. Some free subscribers weren’t quite that smart about it.
You guessed it: even though that note was on the errata page, I still got plenty of reports about it. One specific obliviot even made reference to it, saying “While listed above it states that it is not an error but a point. It is a flagrant error.”
So even when told there’s a point to it, some completely missed the point!
Pretty much, every story in This is True tells about an idiot doing something stupid. Are readers supposed to report the idiot’s “error” to me so I can “correct” it in the record? Obviously not. So why is this idiot any different?
OK, so the real question is, why is it that so many people think it’s smart to say “No, it’s not!” so they can show off their “superior knowledge,” but actually instead are showing off how stupid they are? Or, at least, how slow their thinking is, even if they really ought to know better?
At least quite a few people extended the humor of the situation, with a comment along the lines of, “Was he in the Congo to visit a zoo?” There is the difference between an obliviot and someone who thinks to not only get the point, but to get an extra laugh.
So yeah: the obliviot in the story has a bit of a geography problem: the Congo, which is in Africa, doesn’t have tigers in the wild; they live in Asia. So when the story notes, “He also says he was attacked by a tiger during a trip to the Congo,” the point, dear readers, is the “Animal Lover” really is an obliviot that knows little about animals when he lies about his exploits.
But then, we knew that from the story! So there is no error in the story which needs to be “corrected” on the errata page.
The Previous “Rescue”
Bandit in New Mexico wondered, “You didn’t say what the animal that got his arm was. I’d give my left arm to know.” (Bandit has written before: he types with one hand since that’s all he has; naturally, he has a special interest in our hapless Animal Lover).
Well, Mr. Alcantare lost his arm to …a bird!
OK, not exactly. The previous botched “animal rescue” he was involved in had to do with a bird’s nest that he judged was in peril because it was on an electric fence.
Never mind that the birds using it were fine until HE got there; their legs weren’t long enough to reach the ground to complete a circuit, yaknow?
Anyway, naturally he got zapped by the fence so badly that it put him into cardiac arrest, and he had to be rescued by someone who knew CPR. And his arm was so badly burned by the jolt that it needed to be amputated, and that’s how he lost it. (And what do you want to bet that the bird(s) he was trying to rescue ended up as dead as the gator?)
Just how stupid was Alcantare? I mean, besides trying to “rescue” animals that he should leave at an arm’s length? (Heh heh heh.) When he went after the gator, he waded into the water where it was. Just where would an alligator have the best advantage over a human? Yep: in the water.
Last, if you’re curious about the “nom nom nom” meme referred to in the title of this post, it’s from the Cookie Monster, but probably best personified by this video:
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