Spongebob, Accidental Child Death and “Mom Forwards”

Let me introduce you to the wonder of “mom forwards.” They are the most simultaneously amazing and maddening emails to ever hit your inbox.

mom forward: a forwarded email usually sent by a parent who just learned how to use email. This email includes inaccurate “facts”, awful jokes and uses a variety of recklessly arranged fonts, font sizes and end or begin in a punctuation overload.  These emails are regularly accompanied by a large WMV file or Powerpoint ’97 presentation.

The heyday of “mom forwards” was three-four years ago when many non-web savvy parents began “logging onto the emails.”

A few of my favorite “mom forward” topics:

  • resurgence of chain letters where if you didn’t forward the email to X people you would die a dramatic death.
  • ridiculous, 1,000 word stories that ended with people loosing their bowels in Ace Hardware
  • warnings about the nearly apocalyptic properties of drinking Coca Cola every day (teaser: it will liquify your very soul)

But my absolute favorite is an oldy but a goody (2002). It pertains to Spongebob Squarepants and accidental child death. Wha?

Here’s the email:

“Sponge Bob Square Pants is being cancelled. A three yr old, on a cruise ship w/ his parents, finishes breakfast and announces he is going to see ‘Sponge Bob’. His parents, thinking that he is going down to the cabin to watch TV agree that that is a good idea. The child proceeds to jump over the rail and drown in his attempt to visit Sponge Bob’s who ‘lives in a pineapple under the sea’.”

Firstly, how could this story have enough credibility to forward to someone else in earnest?  The most glaring question is why would they cancel one of the most successful animated shows of all time simply because of poor parenting.  Wait a second, that’s pretty much what lead to the demise of Beavis and Butthead. Fair enough!  So perhaps more unbelievably, would a three year old really have the miscomprehension that he/she was going to be able to visit the animated character Spongebob at the bottom of the ocean? Come on kid!  And even moreso woud he/she have the determination to launch his/herself off the side of a massive cruise ship?

Even the most deluded children don't just JUMP off of this.

Secondly, my complete respect goes to whoever thought up such a creative tale.

Needless to say, this story is not true. Feel free to check out Snopes.com for a full analysis.  In fact, a huge callout to Snopes.com for being the ultimate resource to refute “mom forward” “facts”.

As time has passed, “mom forwards” have become a rarity.  In fact, the term itself has already largely faded into Internet history. New parents are vastly more skilled with technology than my mother’s generation and are more likely to launch blogger networks than send “mom forwards” to their children.

That said, part of me hopes we’ll continue to see these ridiculous stories propagate through the web. Starting now I put all of my hope in my naive Facebook friends.

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