Thursday, July 05, 2007

Suburban Legends

Mysteries and urban legends are fun and cool. I have to say, I have been fooled by not just a couple of urban legends. The bogus quote from Petronius Arbiters had me fooled for quite some time. (Who knew that the word "reorganize" was not really used in ancient times.)

Two urban legends I have heard recently made me want to hunt these down.

The first was told to me over the supper table: Mr. Rogers wore sweaters to cover up his tattoos. I found an answer at a tattoo enthusiast blog: Bella OnLine says the following:

I was at a social event recently when a friend pulled me aside. She said she had taken a look at my Bella site and really liked the tattoo articles I was writing. I asked if there was anything she’d like me to write about. She asked if I could find out more about Mister Rogers’ tattoos, and said she had heard that was why he always wore long-sleeve sweaters.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Tattoo Urban Legend #2, the Mister Rogers tattoo story. Sometimes the ink is attributed to a stay in the military. Sometimes the military story comes with the elaboration that he was a sniper and each tattoo represented a kill. Nonetheless, there is a persistent rumor that Mister Rogers had seriously tattooed arms.

As cool as that might be, it is very much untrue. You will find the question posed here and there on message boards with all manner of answers, and the story certainly was revived by his passing in early 2003. However, all reports from friends and colleagues would indicate that 1) Mister Rogers was not a tattooed person and 2) his style of dress was chosen for a type of relaxed formality. Remember folks, this man was an ordained minister who worked with children: not exactly the tattooed type.
Just because a tattoo enthusiast says does not make it true. But I would expect if it was true she would/should know.

Then the other urban legend is the one popular in the forwarded e-mail circuit that the Toyota Prius harder on the environment than the Hummer if you consider the total life of the vehicle. I'm not sure about this one. There are lots of blogs posting the forwarded e-mail as a blog entry. It is not clear what the truth is on this one to me. If someone can point me to a authoritative source I would be happy to post a link to that source. Until then I would like to refer you to a site that is pro-Prius.
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