Saturday, February 18, 2012

Retirement Issues—Bad Luck Chain Emails

This post is about one of my pet peeves: those emails that claim you must forward them to 7 friends (or 6 or 10—never 2 or 3) within 5 minutes (or 6 or 10—or sometimes 2 or 3) or else you will have bad luck for the next 7 years (or… you get the idea.) I’m sure you’ve all received these. They’re similar to the almost-as-annoying ones promising good luck if you follow the instructions.

Retirement seems to have afforded some of my former colleagues the time to dabble more in predictions, threats and dire consequences. They must think it also affords me the time to respond to these, but I trash them within 5 seconds (or 6 or 10). News flash to my email world: I’m not that superstitious. I also don’t hate my friends enough to pass on the negative karma. And not the bogusly positive karma, either.

Careful readers will have noticed the word “that” inserted before “superstitious” in the paragraph above. This means that though I don’t believe anything will happen to me for deleting these messages, I still have anxiety pangs as I do it. Thank you so much for the mental anguish, so-called friends who send them to me.

The one I received today was about horoscopes. My “friend’s” subject line was: Frightening how accurate for most. More frightening was that she failed to see how many contradictions were embedded within these scopes, guaranteeing at least a whiff of accuracy. Her brief note read: “Can’t hurt – try it!” (Pascal’s wager anyone?)

The instructions in the message included: Below are true descriptions of zodiac signs. Read your sign and then forward it on, with your zodiac sign on the subject line.” Since my friend’s sign was not in her subject line, she must have been so worried about getting the message forwarded on time that she didn’t even read it.

The instructions continued: “This is the real deal; try ignoring or changing it and the first thing you'll notice is having a horrible day, starting tomorrow morning — and it only gets worse from there.”
I inferred from this that I had only until the next morning to forward or be damned. That was Monday. You’re reading this the following Saturday (or later), so I’ve probably had a terrible week.

What we really need here is a message that goes back to the person who sent us the email. As a service to my fellow retirees who have better things to do than annoy their buddies but would like to cover their bases, just in case, here it is.

Dear friend, who is in imminent danger of becoming a former friend:

Please recall the recent message you sent me wherein you put the chain email monkey onto my back to save your own skin. I will not be a party to passive-aggressive harassment, thinly-veiled self-promotion or otherwise non-constructive clogging of the Internet pipe. If you do not retract this message immediately, here’s what will happen.

·       Every appliance in your kitchen will malfunction, starting with the InSinkErator, but only after you have filled it with onion skins and shrimp tails. This will begin a cascade of problems. The day after the repairman (who bills by the visit) has fixed the first item, the second one will go down, and so on. Best not to plan any dinner parties for a few months. You might also want to put your favorite take-out on speed dial.
·       Your alarm clock will wake you at 5 am when you want to sleep in and will fail to go off when you have to catch that early morning, discounted, non-changeable flight to Barbados. The one that was taking you to the fixed-date condo-swap.
·       Whatever teeth you have left will begin to fall out of your mouth one week after having them professionally cleaned. That could be 6 months or a year from now. Two words: Delta Dental.
·       You will misplace all of your credit cards, except the one with the $300 limit and the one with the 24 percent interest rate. When you try to replace the missing ones, you’ll learn that your identity has been stolen by the nephew of a woman from Nigeria who offered to cut you in on a scheme to make thousands of dollars, but you deleted her message.
·       Your email address will be mysteriously added to a network of porn sites. Not to worry. Your credit card with the 24 percent rate will get billed only if you accidentally click thru.
·       Finally, don’t even ask what I have planned for your bathroom.

Oh. I forgot to mention. This will happen “starting tomorrow morning—and it only gets worse from there.” Have a nice day.

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