After telling friends about a fascinating article he read online detailing a new scientific breakthrough in solar power, local man Dave Allen was forced to confess he only read the headline when his knowledge of said article buckled under casual questioning during dinner conversation.
“When Dave started talking about this new advancement in solar technology, the whole table was intrigued and all turned their attention to him. I mean, we’re all concerned about climate change and reducing our dependency on fossil fuels, so hearing positive news on the subject from a knowledgable source was exciting,” said Matt Neshound, friend and host for the evening meal.
“But when my wife Kate asked if it was a US-based company or research team that made the advancement and Dave took a bite of his lasagna and mumbled he ‘couldn’t recall exactly,’ I knew something was fishy. And it wasn’t the lasagna because it was vegetarian.”
According to another dinner guest, signs of the deception were evident from the very beginning when Mr. Allen didn’t source the originating publication responsible for his recent wisdom. “Even though I was listening, I was skeptical at the onset when Dave said he read this scientific article he saw on Facebook. We all know Facebook isn’t an accredited outlet for publishing well-researched academic papers. It’s basically Huff Po with pictures of your friends’ babies and beers mixed in. I actually hate Facebook,” lectured James Seville, friend, online curmudgeon and fellow meal partaker.
The duplicitous nature of the fraud was revealed in its entirety under a simple line of inquiry from out-of-towner and infrequent supper companion Arge Wood who, unbeknownst to Mr. Allen, works in the alternative energy sector. “Poor guy,” said Mr. Wood. “I knew he was full of it from the get go but I didn’t want to seem rude so I let him say his piece. Then I just politely started digging. Nothing too hard. Just lobbing softballs really. I wasn’t trying to humiliate him. I just didn’t want him wasting everyone’s time with his nonsense. I only have dinner with this group of friends once or twice a year.”
Under the mounting pressure from the brief interrogation, Mr. Allen became agitated and uncomfortable. He recalled the lights in the room seemed especially bright and focused on him in that moment. Trapped in a web of lies of his own making, he was forced to finally come clean. “Ok, so I only glanced at the headline as I scrolled through my feed,” he explained.
Later, upon reflection, Mr. Allen opined, “Everything would have been fine had Mr. Wood not been invited to dinner. I have quoted from hundreds of articles I’ve never read in the past. Nobody ever had a problem with it before.”