I blame Wikipedia.

This will be my last email from this address, jdunowski@cranberrytreepublishers.com, as I have lost my fact checker job here at the magazine. Of course, I will still be available at my home email, mobstahlobstah420@monkeyninja.com.

How did I lose my job? I blame Wikipedia.

I first discovered that Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia site, had some factual inaccuracies when I was reading Wikipedia. The problem was that the website implicated some poor guy in both Kennedy assassinations, assassinations in which he, apparently, had no involvement. I’m not sure what role he didn’t take in the Kennedy assassinations, but it was probably wheelman. Of course, this error also called into question Wikipedia’s claim that John F. Kennedy foretold his own death and that his last words as President of the United States and living person were, “See? What did I tell you?”

What went wrong with Wikipedia? Like Soylent Green, ultimately the problem with Wikipedia was people. It was people who miscounted the number of states in the United States (there are only 50), guesstimated that the speed of light was one gazillion miles per hour (less than that), and, in short, sullied what could have been a beautifully informative website. Who did I think was writing the entries? Robots? I don’t know, maybe, I’m leaning heavily towards yes.

As a fact checker, I should have known better than to use Wikipedia as my primary research source. A mistake compounded by the fact that it was my only source.

My editor, Tracy, first became suspicious of my research methods and Wikipedia’s failings when she received several hundred Letters to the Editor informing her that dogs did not actually have voice boxes, nor was stubbornness the only thing that kept them from talking. As Tracy told me, mistakes like that might be okay for some small backwoods pet-centered magazine, but for Pacific Northwest Pet Owner, such errors cannot be tolerated.

Later in a written reprimand, Tracy said that the talking dog thing was my first strike. Strikes two and three came a week later when I green-lighted an article that said Tasmanian Devils traveled by tornado and made enchanting pets for small children.

I beg that you learn from my mistakes. Use Wikipedia with caution, no matter how attractive and juicily fact-packed it seems. Believe me, the pain caused by having your employer knock on your forehead, asking “Hello? Is this thing on?” is not worth it.

Even with all the problems, and when I say problems I’m focusing on the job loss, I still adore Wikipedia. Never have I learned so much, whether it was true or not, in such a rapid manner. Quick knowledge, easily obtained, is as intoxicating as peppermint schnapps and a beer chaser. Without that wonderful website, I would have never learned that there are five household appliances that are hotter than the Sun, that the natural enemy of unicorns are pegasii, or that pegasii is the plural of pegasus. I would never have known that Ulysses S. Grant was not a drunk, he was just suffering from a terrible concussion, and that when I close my eyes, I’m invisible.

I’ve got to say goodbye now, as Tracy is sitting on what will soon be my former desk, ripping off the head of my troll doll, and asking me how many times I have to be told to leave.

I only wish she still trusted me, because I checked with Wikipedia and the answer is four.


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