And if you’re a normal feeling, compassionate human being that’s you sucked in right there.
What do you have to do to help? Well, apparently you just have to forward a very mawkish email on to everybody in your address book. And you mustn’t break the chain. In fact you won’t because I’m going to insert a picture of a small child lying in a hospital bed with a tube coming out of their nose just to yank those heart strings of yours a little harder. If I’m being feeling really manipulative I’ll ensure the child is bald. Just to bring home their plight and add a few more unconscious associations into the mix which is currently making you feel both guilty and responsible. Cancer. Chemotherapy. Great Ormond Street.
And it’s not like I’m asking you for money. I’m just asking you to forward an email. AOL or Google or some other fantastically generous internet company will donate some money every time the email is forwarded. Because they are going to take time out from their busy schedules to track the email. Isn’t that amazing? You can save my child’s life just by forwarding this email. Just by launching another distasteful dollop of internet spam into the electronic ether and clogging up everyone else’s In-Box with another perfect example of pointless emotional blackmail.
Because if you had half a brain you would simply do an internet search on the first line of the email and be directed to one of any number of email hoax sites which would confirm that the email you have just received is the biggest load of old bollocks to hit your PC screen since you erroneously accessed The Swinging Seventies web site. It’s crap. You’ve just needlessly upset all your friends and work colleagues and proved yourself to be a chump of the highest order.
I get emails like the one described above quite regularly. I can usually smell the bullshite emanating from the first line but I always do a Google search anyway just to confirm. I have never yet received a genuine ‘you can save my child’s life by forwarding this’ email. I then reply to the sender pointing out it is a hoax and supplying a link so they can confirm it themselves.
Two things make me mad.
One is the stupidity of the person who sent the email to me in the first place but, hey, we all get caught out at one time or other, don’t we? So I’ll let that pass.
Two – the cynical, screwed up, emotionally backward, ego shrivelled little turd who spent time crafting this email in the first place and then spewing it out into the real world. What on earth do they get out of it? What possible pleasure can you glean from the thought that millions of people are going to feel upset or saddened at the fictional plight of a made-up kid lying in a non-existent hospital bed?
Because what makes me really mad is the sure fact that, the law of averages being what they are, one of the recipients of this email is going to be some poor mother or father whose kid really is in hospital fighting for their life. And this poor mother and father won’t think this email is a hoax – I doubt such a thought would even enter their head while they are holding their child’s hand through the portal of an intensive care screen. They would no doubt think: those poor parents; going through what we’re going through, we must help them. And thus they take time and emotional energy away from the plight of their genuinely ill child – time and energy they can ill afford – to forward on this selfish, nasty, emotionally stunted piece of forgery to all their friends and family, who knowing of their friend’s plight will also forward it on in their honour.
And thus the chain is established.
I’m not sure what can be done about this type of email abuse, except to voice the hope that I am not the only person in the world who is suspicious enough to check these missives out for myself before hitting the Send button. Possibly there is nothing of any real consequence that any of us can do.
Instead then, I invite you all to join with me in hoping that there is a very hot, very ferociously cruel inner circle of hell set especially aside for the people that create these emails and send them out into the world in the first place and that Old Nick receives them all as a celestial email attachment very soon.
Hey Satan – you’ve got mail!