Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Writer's Block Wednesday: Can we please stop sharing that one Facebook post?

Truth be told, when I say "Can we please stop sharing that one Facebook post?" there are several annoying over-shared Facebook posts that I could be talking about.

But in this case, I'm talking about the one that tells the [supposed] story of a husband who is about to leave his wife for another woman. He tells her that he wants a divorce, and in return she asks him to carry her to the door every morning for a month. Blah blah blah, eventually he realizes that he never fell out of love with her, that their marriage was merely lacking intimacy, he tells the other woman he's not leaving his wife and buys flowers on his way home from work, only to arrive and realize that his wife has died sometime during the day. From cancer. Which she had supposedly been fighting for months, though he'd never noticed because he was too busy with his mistress.

First of all - this story very, very likely isn't even real. According to Snopes, it has been circulating the internet in one form or another since 2004 - and originally it had a different (read: upbeat) ending! It wasn't until 2007 that the adulterous husband started arriving home to find his wife dead, and it wasn't until 2009 that the bit about cancer was added.

Of course, no one knows where the story truly originated, so hey, maybe part of it - or parts of it - are based on actual people who lived through something similar. But regardless? Personally I think that this is a horrible, horrible story. Especially once you consider the "new and improved" ending where the wife dies and it turns out she's had cancer the entire time.

I mean, think about it. The story is supposed to give people that "too little, too late" feeling. It's supposed to make us shake our heads and tsk tsk over this man who wasted precious time with the woman he loved. The story itself usually ends with a reminder that money and possessions and other "little things" don't matter as much as spending time with your loved ones, being a friend, building intimacy, etc. etc. etc...which, sure, is all very true and good to remember.

But that doesn't change the fact that there are far better ways of reminding people of this! Sure, it is entirely up to an individual whether or not he or she will stay with a significant other or spouse who has cheated on him or her...though personally, therapy would be my first suggestion. But how in the world could one person who is living with another person not notice that the other member of their household is fighting cancer?! For the wife in this story to not tell her husband is one thing, especially if she has figured out that he isn't into the relationship and/or has been straying. But this story also puts a lot of emphasis on the couple's young son, who has also clearly never been told that his mother is dying. That's just preposterous. And I honestly can't even get into the rest of the things that are wrong with the "Carried Wife" legend, because there are so many...ugh, where would I even start?

I think what it all boils down to is the following question: Why do we need a very likely made up tale to convince us that we shouldn't cheat, that we should spend time with our significant others and keep intimacy alive in our relationships, that we should value the little things? As I said, there are a million better ways to tell people - or show people - these things.

And truth be told, yeah, I'm being a bit selfish here. I'm tired of seeing this story on my Facebook dashboard.

Maybe I'll just start marking it as spam, because I for one can't see it as anything else. Pin It

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