Today a well-meaning friend sent me an email with a message attached claiming that every time the message was forwarded, a donation would be made to the American Cancer Society.
Maybe you've had emails like this: they include a sentimental poem or a humorous photo. It's so tempting to pass it on... and yet I resist. On a very rare occasion, if I think it's something a friend of mine would really enjoy seeing, I pass a message on for one or two people. Not my entire address box.
As a born skeptic, I never believe the photos anyway. Everything is doctored. Photo editing software is only limited by the imagination and the skill of the user. Just to clear the air: The cat really isn't wearing shoes. The baby wasn't drinking from the wine bottle. The lizard wasn't attached to the basketball during a game. Seriously. Who do you think you're kidding?
The "friendship poems" really chap my behind. A real friend would send me an email saying something like, "where the hell have you been?" or "what are you doing next Friday for lunch?". I'm sorry. I don't get it. Since when do I have the time to "scroll down" and "forward" this junk to everybody I know?
I don't read paper junk mail. If it looks remotely financial, I shred it. If it's strictly advertising - to the recycle bin it goes. I don't listen to telemarketers (actually, that's a whole different story altogether), so why should I put up with my inbox stuffed daily with:
If you pass this along to eight people, you will have good fortune in twenty-four hours.
So? Something great might happen in twenty-four hours anyway. What about:
Please pass this message along, to prevent this awful tragedy from happening again.
I beg your pardon? The tragedy today is that I had 72 messages in my inbox! My least favourite:
Let this little girl know that you care by forwarding this message to every single person you've ever met.
If you consider yourself to be a skeptic like me, conduct a little Internet recon the next time one of those cryptic little messages comes your way. You'll likely find that by searching the name of the "missing child" or the "concerned doctor" you will get to the root of the hoax. And then email your well-meaning but ill-informed friend the link to this site. And if you really like the poem, or you think the photo is that damned cute, please: cut it and paste it into a new message for me.