Saturday, June 17, 2006

Computer: Forward Pleas

I remember getting a chain letter when I was little. It had some heartwarming story, promising great things if I sent it on to 10 of my friends and predicting dire consequences if I didn't. I'd have had to painstakingly re-write it by hand 10 times. It was a relief when Mom tossed it in the trash.

Now, I get the same stupid letters on a regular basis. There's a story, or some kind of commentary, or a challenge. Sometimes, they're heartwarming. Sometimes, they're heartwarming in a dysfunctional relationship kind of way.
..."Do you think I'm pretty?" she asked. (The third of such insequre questions.)
"No," he said. (The third of such rude, clueless answers.)
As her eyes filled with tears, he said, "I don't think you're pretty. I think you're beautiful...."
.....Yeah, keep backpedaling, boy!

Sometimes, they're interesting, and I may even want to pass them on. Then I get to the kicker:
--Pass this on to 15 of your friends to show them you love them.
--If we can pass this message to 10,000 people in a month, everyone on the list get $100 from Microsoft! (Does anyone believe this?)
--My "favorite:" Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

Am I the only one who hates these things? I have enough guilt in my life. I don't need to be told I'm neglecting my friends, wrecking some "grand goal," losing an opportunity at easy money, or am less of a citizen or Christian if I don't inundate all my addressees with the same old stories and diatribes that have been around and around for ages.

I show my friends I love them by writing them personal letters. I resist sending on rumors (even computer virus alerts) until I've thoroughly checked their veracity. ( is a good site for tracking down misinformation and rumors). If I come across something that I believe some of my friends will be interested in, I'll pass it on just to them with an extra note about why I'm sending it. And I ask the same courtesy of my friends and acquaintances.

E-mail is a great communication tool, but it should be used for just that--communication. Not for passing on every piece of junk mail with a Forward Plea.

I'm going to Puerto Rico for the next couple of weeks, so no more blogs until July. Send this on to 15 of your friends if you love them, love Jesus, care about the environment, want to avoid stubbing your toes this week or want a chance to win a free vactaion with Bill Gates. If you don't... no one will know. But don't sit around wondering what the world is coming to. :-)

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