In case you were wondering, David Cerda is not dead. Yes, his obituary did appear in The Dallas Morning News. But the man is very much still with us so stop posting messages on Facebook and offering to bring food to his mother. In a WFAA interview last night, they listed the poor man as “David Cerda” and underneath his name “Alive”. Cerda said an acquaintance with mental problems placed the ad (who does that kind of thing?) that was supposed to be verified by DMN folks–usually a call to a funeral home or hospital. But they didn’t. And the fake obit got in. The paper issued a retraction. It’s not the first time something like this has happened. Psychos put stuff in the obits all the time. Because their paid advertisements for the dead, people have carte blanche to say whatever they feel and sometimes it’s down right strange. One of my former duties was to read the obituary sheets every night. Man that was tough. Dead babies, young people, old people. But I met the DMN’s long time obituary writer Joe Simnacher who was my cubicle buddy. He’s written up the dead for 17 years now. And has made an art of feature obituaries–they are the long ones you see in the Metro section and are unpaid. Usually, Joe or an editor will choose someone of note and do a story on them. Typically it’s teachers, politicians, society types (including one woman who was a well known Neiman Marcus shoplifter!) Cerda’s unfortunate incident is not the norm, thankfully. However, somebody on the obit pages is in trouble. The number one rule of obits (and we’ve all learned this the hard way) is never, ever trust a family member of close friend to tell you the truth. They may cry, sound legit but always verify the information. People that sound like good friends could really be an acquaintance with mental problems!