We’ve all seen them. Chinese mantras, religious novenas, endless power-point presentations and inspirational e-mails that threaten dire consequences if you don’t forward to friends. Some of these take ages to download. The instructions usually are clear – send to people you care about, including the sender. The idea is to form a long chain of friends and so if you’re not in any chain then you know you’re a cold heartless newt with no friends in the whole wide world.
When they’re not threatening some calamity on you within 96 hours, they’re taking you on guilt trips. How do you live with yourself, going on with your life as usual while countless children are suffering in Cambodia? You will always know these ones from the headings. “If you don’t forward this you have no heart”. “If you can’t forward then at least don’t delete”. They will have gory pictures of car accidents and fellow humans ravaged by the effects of hunger, war and disease. To the sick and the suffering I speak for many when I say we are sorry. We envision your suffering. We truly are sympathetic and we pray for God to deliver his people. But we shall not pray under duress! With apologies to my God fearing brothers and sisters, let me tear into those religious ones. For one the God you seek to promote is not happy with you for jamming cyber space, not to mention people’s in-boxes. There’s time for everything and most people send and receive E-mails in the morning. The religious mails will usually ask for a prayer. Yet even the staunchest of you do not get down on your knees first thing Monday morning to intervene for the world. So please don’t make us feel guilty for not doing so.
Others will test your IQ with a series of silly questions at the end of which they will declare in sugar coated words that you’re not very clever after all. For example how do you put a giraffe in a refrigerator?
Personally I appreciate a good joke once in a while but many people hate getting junk e-mails. No matter how funny, cute or inspiring an e-mail might be, some people don’t like having an in-box littered with jokes and hoaxes. Sending e-mail junk to people who haven’t requested it can cause loss of friendship, profane e-mail responses, and ostracism. Generally, it annoys the hell out of people. So think a minute or two before clicking that send button – and especially if you’re sending to a company address. For those who don’t like these mails, you can write a polite e-mail and ask your friends to keep the cute fluffy puppies to themselves. Of course you run the risk of having your address completely purged from their address books. For those who send them, make sure the person you’re sending to will appreciate your mail.
The giraffe. You open the fridge, put in the giraffe and close the door. I told you they’re silly!