So a rabbi, a priest, a talking duck and a blonde walk into a bar…

Do you feel a joke coming on?

We’ve been taught where to look for jokes. Certain places and times feel joke-friendly, and we’re alert and aware of what’s coming.
The web is changing the vernacular daily, and I discovered this first hand with my vacation email memo from last week.

Here’s an excerpt:

If you need to find me, I’ll be at the UN for a few days, working on the oil for food scandal. You can reach me at the UN at 212 355 4165. Then I’ll be in Beijing, consulting with the government on how they can more effectively do the messaging for the upcoming Olympics. I believe that their mascot is sending exactly the wrong message, and hope to persuade them to start using a cow.

I’ll be ending the week at Beverly Hills Hilton in California, (a bungalow, just ask for me at the desk). It turns out that Steven has a bit of writer’s block on a project and he asked me to stop by and help out.

I thought it was a pretty funny spoof of the self-important (okay, egomaniacal) vacation posts some people have been using. No, I didn’t go to China, I went to Costa Rica (more on this soon). I was surprised, though, to discover that a whole bunch of people thought I was serious.

Now, that could be because some of my correspondents have such high regard for me that they figured I really was working with Kofi Annan at the UN, but more likely it’s because we just assume that email vacation notes are true. Same thing happens with phishing when hackers use email to steal passwords.
What else are we assuming are true, when it might be a joke, or an opinion, or a fraud?