Monday, May 21, 2001

I'm looking at this health insurance claim form sitting on my desk, and this sentence caught my attention: "I know it is a crime to fill out this form with facts I know are false."

"Facts I know are false." A wonderful Orwellian statement if there ever was one. According to Webster's Online, a "Fact" is "something that has actual existence... truth." So how could a "fact" be false if it means something that it true?

I was going to write to the insurance company and let them know that they should change to form to read, "I know it is a crime to fill out this form with statements I know are false." But then I started to think about it, and came to the conclusion that maybe they're right.

There are lots of "facts we know are false" such as:
  • Don't make ugly faces; somebody could hit you on the back and the muscles will freeze like that forever
  • You'll go blind if you keep that up
  • Depending on your point of view; O.J. Simpson is guilty / innocent
  • This stock is recession-proof
  • George W. Bush was elected president of the United States
...and the list goes on...

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