April Fool's Day, 2002. The memo got a few giggles but was largely
ignored, as most my coworkers didn't get the joke.
In the next five months the company had a major growth spurt. An
entire department sprung into existence with close to a dozen people.
One day I returned to the office after giving a deposition. (The
company was being sued, again) and I was approached by an
exceptionally foolish woman who had, for reasons known only to her,
been going though my home directory on the server. Why she even had
access to my home directory the Network Admin refused to tell me, but
the damage was done. She'd found my memo and printed it up,
circulating it among her coworkers. The entire department was in a
panic, as the only person in that department who'd been with the company when I'd first
circulated the memo had clearly forgotten all about it.
She ran up to me and demanded to know why I hadn't told anyone about
the "poison in the water." I was confused until she showed me a printout
of the memo. I read it and started laughing. This upset her and some
of the people behind her. "This could be killing our kids" one of them
I asked her where she'd gotten the memo and she admitted to having
spent the day poking around peoples' home directories on the server. I
pointed out the date.
"So?" she demanded.
"I sent it around on April 1."
One of her coworkers swore quietly and returned to her desk. A few
others groaned and did the same.
"So we've been drinking this s**t for months?"
It took an additional 20 minutes to get her to understand it was an
April Fool's joke and that dihydrogen monoxide was water.
Below is the text of the memo:
The Massachusetts Water supply has been found to contain dihydrogen monoxide.
This acid can cause corrosion in a variety of substances, irreversibly
damaging wood, paint, metal and most structural components.
Prolonged human exposure can cause loss of skin oils, discomfort,
encourage bacterial infection and in some extreme cases, death.
In pure form, it is clear, odorless and tasteless.
Numerous organisms, many harmful to humans, thrive on this chemical.
This chemical also damages electrical components and destroys paper products.
Thousands of deaths a year can be attributed both directly and
indirectly to dihydrogen monoxide. One recent, and spectacular death,
involved an unfortunate man who handled electrical components that had
come into contact with dihydrogen monoxide. While electrocution was
the direct cause of death, the electrical device would have posed no
threat if the dihydrogen monoxide had not destroyed the device's
Presence of dihydrogen monoxide in the lungs prevents the absorption
of Oxygen, and results in death.
There has even been one case reported where excessive quantities of
dihydrogen monoxide caused electrolytes to be flushed from the body,
resulting in death. This however, appears to be a suicide.
Dihydrogen monoxide intake can be correlated with an increased need to
urinate as the chemical is flushed from the body.
Recent studies have revealed that most Americans have large deposits
of dihydrogen monoxide in their bodies.
Withdrawal from dihydrogen monoxide intake is generally fatal.
It's production and distribution is legal and unregulated aside from
rudimentary purity laws.
Please take the appropriate precautions.