Commentary: Back on the (email) chain gang
I’ve become one of those very annoying people who forward email to everyone, even my enemies ... especially my enemies. What better way to drive them crazy than by clogging their in-boxes? (Don’t give me your email address because I can’t control myself.)
Let me confess, though, that I don’t have a Twitter account and wasn’t involved in spreading the nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Lassie, Mister Ed and a hundred other celebrities whose accounts were hacked. I leave that sort of activity to the criminal element.
I’m more interested in forwarding prayer chains that guarantee you’ll receive $250,000 in three days in an unmarked envelope if you say a certain prayer to St. Jude, patron saint of hopeless cases, or St. Anthony of the Desert, patron of acne sufferers.
Then, I’ll share the email with 30 other friends within 15 minutes — because there’s always a time limit.
When I get one of those, I immediately stop working on the important project my boss has been waiting for since September 2013 to start sharing that email. Life is all about priorities and I want to keep mine in order, largely because I could really use $250,000 for my retirement savings.
Forwarding to 30 friends/enemies
Did I also mention that the prayer chain said if I didn’t forward the email to 30 friends and/or enemies that some terrible, life-threatening catastrophe might befall me, worse than an IRS audit? That’s really a game changer.
People who don’t comply have been known to suffer serious consequences, which leads me to believe Don Corleone may be behind these prayer chains.
So I promptly get to work at my computer, annoying friends and foes alike in the interests of self-preservation. In all sincerity, I believe in the power of prayer and I’m convinced we don’t do enough of it.
I’m also convinced this world would be a better place if we did more of it, but some of the stuff that passes for prayer on the Internet can be really creepy and comes with a lot of fine print.
I have never before heard of novenas with death threats and cash rewards. And come to think of it, I don’t know of any cases where someone woke up and found $250,000 in a brown paper bag on the doorstep, which probably means there’s a ton of unclaimed money out there that needs to be given away.
The Internet offers us exciting opportunities, and we should take advantage of them but only on company time — because you wouldn’t want to waste valuable personal time that you could devote to something meaningful like watching home videos of Jessica Simpson’s wedding or prepping for your semiannual colonoscopy.
I also love clogging my friends’ in-boxes with bizarre stories about gerbils that won the lottery, Bill Clinton, Nicki Minaj, and pets that save their owners from fires and bankruptcy.
Nitwits and junk
People want to feel wanted, and what better way to show them they’re wanted than by sharing absolutely insane and inane and unsolicited emails that inspire them to hit the delete button and mutter, “Why is this nitwit sending me this junk?”
By forwarding news about killer asteroids headed toward planet Earth, I keep in touch with my loved ones. That’s valuable information because if there’s a killer asteroid on the way, we don’t need to save for retirement.
And I never miss an opportunity to forward stories that say the government is planning to implant computer chips in Americans to ensure prompt filing of income tax returns.
I also love stories about retirement planning with headlines that say “15 ways to retire by 75,” which generally include advice like “Fundamental principles of corporate embezzlement.”
My other all-time favorites are gossip stories about Hollywood breakups of couples like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Whatshisname, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, and Jay Z and Beyoncé — I could go on all day.
So be sure to send me your email address and get on my very special VIP mailing list so you can start receiving this exciting news absolutely free of charge, under penalty of death.
Joe Pisani, who grew up in Shelton’s Pine Rock neighborhood, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.