On Monday, I was out for an afternoon coffee break with two coworkers, Rick and Cam. Cam looks at his phone and asks “Who’s (Name Redacted)?” Rick explains that Name Redacted used to work on our floor, she retired about a year ago, right around the time that Cam had joined our floor. Then he adds “why do you ask?”

“She’s dead.”

Shock.

I didn’t get the email so I wound up reading it over Cam’s shoulder. Seems that this lady had hurt her ankle recently – maybe broke it – and a blood clot developed and it killed her. I was in disbelief. She’d retired relatively young and was in really good shape. We weren’t super close or anything, but I’d seen her just days before when we crossed paths in the mall, and she looked to be doing quite well. Coffee talk turned to discussions of people who’d died before their time. When we got back to the office, you could hear gasps and “oh my God” and “did you see this” as people checked their email.

A half-hour later, we got an email update that said she was fine. No idea where this rumour started. Even her ankle was unharmed. (Hence “Name Redacted” up there – I don’t want to attract any Googlers with poor reading comprehension skills and risk spreading the rumour any further.)

And I was mad, you know? How does something this irresponsible happen? And then I took a second, realized that this was way better than the alternative, and settled back into my day.

Meanwhile, I mentioned this incident in passing on Facebook. A coworker who I had also seen on that coffee break replied “no, James, it’s okay, I just sprained my ankle!” I thought she’d been following the emails and was making a funny. Then she sent me a picture of her bruised, swollen ankle and asked who the emails were about. So in the span of about 90 minutes, she had ACTUALLY injured her ankle, just like the fake story in the email. Ridiculous.

On the bus ride home, a punk stoner kid was loudly extolling the virtues of Rush Hour 2. I’ll take his word for it.

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