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The San Fernando Valley Folklore Society's Urban Legends Reference Pages
www.snopes.com

So here's the scene at this year's company Christmas party:

Sammi from Sales looks cockeyed over the rim of her blush wine glass. "Hey," she says in a stage whisper, "wanna hear something spooky?"

"Yeah!!," blurts Frank from Finance, his fist slamming down drunkenly on the table. He is echoed by Arturo from the Art Department.

Sammi gulps down the rest of her complimentary Gallo and smiles. "Have you ever seen Three Men and a Baby? Well, there's this scene where-"

"Stop right there!," Debbie from the Department of Wasting Time Surfing the Internet interjects. "That story's a crock. There's no little boy ghost; it's just a standee of Ted Danson," she hiccups, spilling her salty dog. "A standee, incidentally, is a promotional cardboard stand-up."

Suddenly Debbie realizes that she's alone at the table. Sad, yes, but at least she knew her stuff. And winning's what's important, right? Wanna be a world-class killjoy like Debbie? Then log on to www.snopes.com and cut idle party chatter off at the root with your incisive knowledge of "the real deal." From e-mail hoaxes to sex myths, the Folklore Society has you covered. Each entry in the more than 25 categories has a stoplight icon next to it: A green light "identifies true statements or legends based on real occurrences"; red "identifies false statements"; yellow "identifies statements of undetermined or ambiguous veracity"; and the spooky white light "identifies legends of indeterminate origin." There are categories like Automobiles, Horror, Christmas, Toxin du Jour and Disney (nope, Walt's not really in cryogenic suspension; yep, images of a topless woman can be spotted in The Rescuers). And learn how to be a smarter e-mail spammer at the Inboxer Rebellion section, where you'll find out that almost nothing's really free, very few sick children are gonna benefit from your hitting "forward," and Harry Potter books are not sparking a rise in Satanism among children (a story lifted directly from The Onion). So go on ... kill some small talk. 'Tis the season.

—Stefanie Kalem

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