The other day, my daughter got one of those eternally-forwarded chain letters that plague cyberspace, and knowing what a skeptic I am, she asked me if it was for real.
As usual, it was not, which NEVER seems to stop people from forwarding these things. And I don’t get it. Why the hell would you forward ANY kind of death warning, promise of riches, or promises to curse your family, without first verifying whether or not it was true?
But it doesn’t matter. Everyone does it. For example, here is the Monkeyman letter.
This is something I received from the State Police Please read this “very carefully”…then send it out to all the people online that you know. Something like this is nothing to take casually; this is something you DO want to pay attention to. Think of it as a bit of advice too.
If a person with the screen-name of Monkeyman935 contacts you, DO NOT REPLY!!!! DO NOT TALK TO THIS PERSON; DO NOT ANSWER ANY OF HIS/HER INSTANT MESSAGES OR E-MAILS. Whoever this person may be, he/she is a suspect for murder in the death of 56 women (so far) contacted through the Internet. Please send this to all the women and children on your buddy list and ask them to pass this on, as well. This screen-name was seen on Yahoo, AOL, and Excite, so far. This is not a joke! Please send this to men too…just in case! Send to every one you know! Ladies, this is serious. Cut and paste this from its long forward list. Please check and make sure to forward to anyone I have not included on this list.
Perhaps the key here is the THREAT. If you scare the shit out of people, they will listen and forward things. Either that, or promise riches, wish-fulfillment, or good luck. Sometimes the motive of these hoaxes is revenge, like with the Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe. People think they are getting one up on Neiman Marcus by telling everyone their cookie recipe, which does not exist.
But the motivation is never really founded in fact or solid, emotionally-balanced thought. I guess that’s why we sell so many lottery tickets in the United States.
If you actually have something legitimate to offer, say, a good book, they will not forward your post on. Not that I’ve TRIED this, but it sure has crossed my mind. I get these stupid forwarded emails every week. And every time, I wonder how I could make it work for me.
I can envision the email now.
This is something I received from the State Library Police. Please read this “very carefully”…DO NOT IGNORE THIS EMAIL, or you will be sorry. Forward this to everyone on your mailing list.
You must read the book WIVES AND SISTERS by Natalie R. Collins. If you do not the State Library Police will come to your home and “shush” you into submission. In addition, your toes will shrivel up and become gangrenous and your children will immediately fall to the floor and pledge lifetime allegiance to Hari Krishna.
If you do not immediately go to the bookstore and get a copy of this book, available for only $24.95 in hardback, your name will be given to the LDS Church as an “extremely excited investigator” and hordes of LDS Missionaries will storm your home, refusing to leave you alone until you feel a burning in your bosom that is not directly related to the shotgun blast you just fired at them.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses will also be preaching the gospel of Jehovah, or whatever gospel it is they preach, and if you get hurt from the shotgun, they will NOT, I repeat, NOT allow you to have a blood transfusion to save your life.
Purchasing this book will keep you safe from: Mormons, Jay-Dubs, Snake-handlers, Amway Salesmen and door-to-door salesmen/women who call you beautiful and offer to clean everything in your house with one simple product that costs only $19.95.
It will also afford you protection from Paris Hilton, Tom Cruise, and bad television movies starring Meredith Baxter-Birney.
FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. Everyone can use this kind of protection.
So, whattaya think? Will it work?