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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Chain of Fools

Hallmark's slogan used to be "When you care enough to send the very best."

Forwards, meanwhile, are for those people who "Care enough to send something, but otherwise don't really care at all."

Just like shoes, forwards come in many shapes and varieties.

First, there are the harmless, joke, random list related forwards. These are the forwards that have titles like "You know you're a red neck if..." and "Top 30 Signs You're A Child of the Eighties". In other words, they point out the obvious in long, drawn out, dare I say redundant ways. Gee, I'm a blonde if I need five people to screw in one lightbulb? I did not know that!

Then there are what I like to call the inspirational forwards. These forwards usually surface after a tragedy such as 9/11 or around holidays when people are feeling extra sentimental. They include things like walking on the beach with God and someone is carrying someone. They are not so subtle reminders that God is there for you and in some bizarre way, so is your apparent "friend" who sent the forward to you in the first place.

Next we have the All About Me forwards. These are the quizzes that you fill out that include questions ranging from "Favorite Food" to "Ever have sex on a beach (not the drink, silly!)". The best time to fill one of these out is when you're bored out of your skull with absolutely nothing better to do. The way to fill one of these things out is completely tongue in cheek. Why? Because the real answers don't matter and if the person who sent it to you was that good of a friend, chances are they know all the answers you'd give anyhow and if not, they are no worse for wear to continue not knowing.

Then we have A Picture Says 1,000 Words forwards. Like the title says, they are pictures. They might be of cute little puppies, they might be of someone's new baby. No matter what the picture is of they have one thing in common, there is little to no explanation, just the picture, no more, no less.

This brings me to Ripley's Believe It Or Not type forwards. You know the type I'm talking about. These are the forwards that are asking something of YOU. They come from some man you've never heard of in Argentina who needs YOUR money now. They tell you that all you have to do is convince 50 people to say the word "Butterfinger" while spinning around 10 times and you will get 50 bucks the following week. In short, they are hoaxes. They are the pipe dreams of forwards. Nothing good will ever come with following these yellow brick road of forwards, and yet otherwise good, decent people continue to forward them to other good and decent people.

Which leads me to the biggest forward offender of all: The Chain Letter forward. Chain letter forwards are the icing on the cake. The final piece of the forward puzzle. The glue that holds them all together. This is because the forward might be a picture, a poem about God, an urgent request for money, a quiz to tell if you come from New York, anything...the only difference is these forwards end with the dreaded words:

"Please forward this to ___ amount of people in the next ___ hours. If you don't you will _____, forever!"

Now I don't know about you, but personally I don't appreciate forwards of any shape or size with the possible exception of a conversation thread that is easier to send along to multiple parties instead of sending it individually each time. Then and ONLY then is the forward an acceptable means of communication.

There's only one thing I can think of disliking more than getting a forward; getting a forward that threatens me into continuing to forwarding it on.

Forwards are like the headhunters of emails. You know deep down that nothing bad is going to happen to you if you don't tell 10 more people Jesus loves them, but you can't help it, something in the back of your mind tells you just have to do it cause if something bad does God forbid happen, you know who and what to blame.

But really, who's to blame? Who is to blame is YOU. Yes, YOU. Any of you who continue to forward forwards. Just end the charade already! Do you know anyone who actually sits down and reads their forwards? I didn't think so. But I'll bet you all have at least one friend whose primary means of keeping in touch is by sending the occassional forward your way. Then, when you email the person in an attempt to get an actual, update on their lives, you get yet...another forward.

It has to stop somewhere people.

I say it's time to beat them at their own game! Send this post along to anyone you think might give a damn and want to join me in the cause of creating the forward for the greater good, the forward to end all forwards.



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