The Truth about Chain Letters 2/16/01

Dear Mr Steele:

I am not much of a writer myself, but I love reading your Truths. I got an chain letter from my sister today and right away thought of you and your truth page. I always had a pet peeve about this subject too, but my solution to it was... do not forward and just delete. Well, apparently she <the original author of the chain letter> had a different way of dealing... here is what i am referring to:

Hello, my name is Danyiel. I suffer from the guilt of not forwarding 50 billion fucking chain letters sent to me by people who actually believe that if you send them on, a poor 6-year-old girl in  Arkansas with a breast on her forehead will be able to raise enough money to have it removed before her redneck parents sell her to a travelling freak show. Do you honestly believe that Bill Gates is going to give you, and everyone to whom you send "his" email, $1000? How stupid are we? "Ooooh, looky here! If I scroll down this page and make a wish, I'll get laid by every Playboy model in the magazine!" What a bunch of bullshit.

Basically, this message is a big FUCK YOU to all the people out there who have nothing better to do than to send me stupid chain mail forwards. Maybe the evil chain letter leprechauns will come into my apartment and sodomize me in my sleep for not continuing a chain that was started by Peter in 5 AD and brought to this country by midget pilgrims on the Mayflower. Fuck them.

If you're going to forward something, at least send me something mildly amusing. I've seen all the "send this to 10 of your closest friends,and this poor, wretched excuse for a human being will somehow receive a nickel from some omniscient being" forwards about 90 times. I don't fucking care. Show a little intelligence and think about what you're actually contributing to by sending out these forwards. Chances are, it's your own unpopularity.

The point being? If you get some chain letter that's threatening to leave you shagless or luckless for the rest of your life, delete it. If it's funny, send it on. Don't piss people off by making them feel guilty about a leper in Botswana with no teeth who has been tied to a dead elephant for 27 years and whose only salvation is the 5 cents per letter he'll receive if you forward this email.

Now forward this to everyone you know. Otherwise, tomorrow morning your underwear will turn carnivorous and will consume your genitals.

~DMM, SuitePee's Sister (Deb)

Hats-off to DMM for writing this--and hats-off to SuitePee's Sister for forwarding this to me and telling me she enjoys my Truths. I can never hear that enough.

Although I really, really like this response--I have to admit that I wrote a different response some time ago. I sort of paraphrased that response in an older Truth, but I didn't get into great detail. I think it was just an aside of some kind. 'Cause sometimes, I'll do that. I'll be talking about this one thing, and then--out of nowhere--I'll decide that I really have to talk about this other thing. In fact, there was this one time ...


Basically, I've found that these insipid chain letters fall into two categories:

Forward this letter, or very bad things will happen to you. Terrible ills will befall you and those you love. You're not safe leaving the house unless you forward this email. You're not safe in your house, either.

... or ...

Forward this letter, and you'll become rich beyond your wildest imaginings. The checks will keep coming and coming. Bill Gates will sign them himself. The checks will come and you'll finally be able to afford that nice car--and you know you need a nice car to get the chicks, right?

Each of these letters are forwarded for different psychological reasons--and therefore, we must address them to the respective pathologies of the senders in whatever way will do the most damage.

I know, I'm a prick. You didn't know that already? Where have you been?

The first letter is forwarded because of superstition. Therefore, we direct our response to their superstition, to wit:

I'm very sorry. I really am. I'm afraid it's extraordinarily bad luck to forward chain letters to me. I wish I could have warned you before-hand.

Jane Dickerson forwarded me a 'luck' email, once. Jane had many phobias. Heights. Swamps. Dark. Large reptiles. Jane's plane went down in Okeefenokee Swamp. See Jane swim. Swim Jane! Swim! Oops ... not fast enough. See Jane buried in a closed-casket--the parts they found, anyway.

Yoshi Maharoto forwarded me a 'luck' email, once. What a great fisherman Yoshi was. Those American subs should really be more careful, don't you think? I mean, a single 'ping' with radar before they surface--that couldn't hurt, could it? During peace-time, and all? Why would the U.S. Navy arbitrarily decide they weren't going to do that while they were practicing that maneuver? Practicing! During peace-time! Couldn't they simply tell submarine captains that they shouldn't 'ping' during war-time? Would that be so difficult to remember that they would say, "No--we don't want any bad habits forming in our pinheaded sub captains--we don't want them getting it wrong in the event that we go to war with ... with ... " ... with who? Who have we fought in the last half-century who could even afford to fuel a boat? Poor Yoshi. Maybe the Navy would have some mutha-fucka with an ounce of common-sense in charge if not for that chain letter.

Juan Menendez forwarded me a 'luck' email, once. Poor Juan. Juan liked to masturbate on the belts of the machinery while his compatriots were out-to-lunch. Hey, it's a victimless indiscretion. Poor, poor Juan. If you're going to masturbate against a belt of machinery, you've got to keep your scrotum away from the wheel the belt drives on. Poor, poor, poor Juan. The accident threw him clear across the room. They never found the left testicle, which probably wouldn't have been that big a deal if Juan hadn't been working in a meatball factory at the time.

I don't know for certain who ate that meatball sandwich, but I strongly suspect they may have sent me a 'luck' email, too. Call it a hunch.

As stated, I'm terribly sorry you had the misfortune to send me this email. Please accept whatever terrible fate will be meted out to you with as much dignity as possible.

Have a nice day.

The response to the second type of email is much simpler.

Not making enough money? How about you get a job?

It's crude, but it gets the point across.

There is--of course--a response that supercedes either of these.

Please fuck-off and die. I liked you before I received this crap. That's over now. Your death will affect me not-in-the-least, except that I'll have less junk to delete in my mailbox. You're going to die eventually anyway, right? Please do so before you forward anything else to me. Thanks.

If none of these work and you continue to receive these emails, I can't help you. These are the strongest words I know.