|Fleming, Churchill and Penicillin|
(6/15/2003) National Friendship Week strikes again. Wasn't last week friendship week? No, wait a minute, didn't we have one of those last month... and the month before? This time, we're being asked to show our friends we care by sharing a fantasized tale of doubtful validity.
The notion that every personal encounter is an opportunity to touch someone else's live or have ours touched in a way that not only changes our future, but perhaps that of mankind, is a common theme in urban legends and chain letters. Unfortunately, the path Alexander Fleming took to his place in history did not include the chance encounter described above.
The Fleming farm was in a remote rural region, somewhere a statesman like Lord Churchill would be unlikely to be "passing through." Fleming the younger's desire to become a doctor was encouraged not by the grateful gift of a stranger, but by the lead of his older brother. He paid for his education with an inheritance from an uncle, not from an appreciative benefactor. Though the history books do show Churchill overcoming a case of pneumonia, his treatment did not include penicillin, nor was Fleming part of the medical team that treated him.
Many chain letters are forwarded in the name of "National Friendship Week," but don't fool yourself into believing this is some officially designated observance. There is no official sponsor of National Friendship Week in the United States and an internet search turns up hundreds of references to it, all with varying dates (if a date is provided at all).
Of course, there is no real harm in telling your friends you care about them, but make sure you're sending the right message. A recent survey of readers identified friendship chains as the most annoying type of chain letters. Most say they'd prefer a visit or personally written note from you, expressing genuine concern and friendship. Make every week friendship week and break this Chain!
Category: General Junk