New York State Funeral Directors Association

I’ve been an action movie fan as long as I can remember watching movies.

So I was instantly upset when a hoax popped up on Social Media erroneously suggesting movie star Sylvester Stallone had passed away.

It wasn’t true. But after I confirmed it was a hoax, I decided it really wasn’t that bad a thing.

That’s because of the relief I felt when I realized it wasn’t true.

Thinking somebody is gone, even if they aren’t, gets me thinking about what others mean to me.

It sparks a moment to stop and appreciate people.

I don’t know “Sly” Stallone, but I feel like I do since I’ve been seeing his movies for a couple decades.

And since he’s among several stars who share parts of their lives on social media, such as on Instagram, I get to see more of his life than I would by just watching movies.

I get to see how proud he is of his family. I get to see messages of encouragement he posts when he’s at the gym working out.

He’s in better shape at 71 years old than I ever was. As are other action movie stars I try to follow on Social Media, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Jet Li, Jackie Chan and the list goes on.

DEATH HOAXES ABOUND ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Many of these stars have been “victims” of Death Hoaxes.

After the Sylvester Stallone hoax was posted on Facebook, it was apparently shared more than 1.7 million times – a fact the journalism website Poynter.org used to describe what it suggests highlights shortcomings in Facebook’s fact-checking.

I understand Snopes.com is one decent source to verify the authenticity of death hoaxes.

It’s also a great website to visit if you want to see how frequently stars – from both movies, music and other pursuits – are “hoaxed” by these death posts.

The list is long. It includes Kirk Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kid Rock, Miley Cyrus, Willie Nelson, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Ted Nugent, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, George H.W. Bush, Stevie Wonder, Angelina Jolie and others.

The list is about 30 web pages long. And many of them listed are actually repeats of death hoaxes.

NOT THAT BAD

OK so I have to admit it’s possible some people may actually be harmed by these death hoaxes.

Perhaps a senior citizen with a heart condition could be harmed, or maybe a family member of one of these stars might endure a panic attack or become distraught if they see the hoax.

But the aftermath of these hoaxes is a good thing, in my opinion.

That’s why I say we all need a Death Hoax. It’s like a wakeup call to people who may have been lax in their attention to those who are important to them.

Sure, I’ll admit it’s not like I’ve been neglecting to send Sylvester Stallone letters or give him a call on his birthday – I just follow him on Social Media and watch his movies as I do for many action movie stars.

But what about relatives, cousins, former school teachers or co-workers?

It might not be a bad exercise to consider a Death Hoax taking place for the people in our lives, and then taking in the relief of realizing that it’s not true.

Something like this would probably encourage people to make that phone call to a cousin or send a note to a good friend who fell off the weekly contact list because work and other parts of life take over.

I can’t argue against people’s complaints about the “Fake News” that’s taken on much discussion and derision.

But at the same time, I can’t help but think that these Death Hoaxes are a good thing, because they spark thought about people and, once found to be false, a bit of relief and greater appreciation for the fact that these folks are still around.

Time. It’s a force that continues to tick and it’s ticking against all of us, so one day one of these death hoaxes are going to turn out to be true.

I just hope I take the time to grasp the appreciation I have for those that have influenced my life before time ends – either for me or for them.


 

EdsPhotoEdward Munger Jr.
Communications & Social Media Specialist
NYS Funeral Directors Association