A dear and valued friend of mine sends me one of those email chain letters.   There’s nothing malicious or fraudulent about it.   It doesn’t threaten or ask for money.   It asks you to read a paragraph of prose – clichés to be sure but moderately uplifting and nothing to take offence over – and then send it off to a dozen women of significance in your life, including the sender, and wait to see what happens on the 4th day.

I sigh.   I am very fond of my friend, a woman of taste and judgement, and I don’t want to hurt her feelings.   So I enumerate the dozen most significant women in my life.   They’re far flung – Tokyo, Toronto, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Oxford and here in the South.

And then I’m overtaken by a burst of irritation.    I don’t want this.   I don’t need to read a paragraph of psycho-babble.   I don’t want anything to happen on the 4th day (not that anything will.)   I don’t want new recipes, money, prayers, friends.   None of those.   Nothing.   And what’s more, neither do my dozen friends.

I wonder briefly about the motivation of the people who initiate these emails.   So far as I can figure, there is no profit motive in sending things like this email chain out into the atmosphere.   (Unless the object is to get more traffic on the site.)  Can it really just be people who haven’t enough to do in their lives, filing up the unforgiving minute with risky ventures ‘to see what happens’.    (I used to do things to see what happened, but not any more.    Generally I found in these situations, far more happened than you bargained for.   Plenty of things happen that you can’t prevent and have to deal with, without you starting up a few more.)

And then I turn my thoughts back to my valued friend.    She’s a sensible woman, not given to superstitions or other time-wasting nonsense.   I think, why is she doing this?   Then I wonder, why I would do it?   Because I don’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings.    And why is she doing it?   For exactly the same reason.   So we’re all doing things that we don’t want to do in order not to offend the feelings of the person who sent it to us, and no doubt she likewise, stretching back into infinity.   So I dump the draft email.

Ladies, let’s not do it.    You can send me anything you want me to see – just for me to read;  for my information;  to make me laugh;  to give me an option;  for my opinion.    I’ll be glad to receive these.     If it’s not confidential and I think others might find it amusing, I’ll post it on.    But don’t send me any chain emails.   I won’t be doing them.   I know you don’t really want to either.

Let’s cast off these chains.

About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

2 Responses to CAST OFF THE CHAINS

  1. Carolyn says:

    Yes, I loath these sickly sweet chain emails, which are usually of American origin. I received one last week from a woman I’ve hardly ever said two words to in my life & why, because she was too frightened not to send on to ten others herself, not that she wished me well at all, which is ludicrous. Needless to say, I ignored it, as I do with all such fatuous messages. Call me miserable maybe, but at least I’m not further spreading mush, truisms, or downright lies. If someone wants to say something to me I’d much rather they say it in person in a sincere way, rather than the inane home spun homilies, or cutesy crap which these things usually contain. So, in other words, I’m with you Anne, here, here!

  2. Eugene Windsor says:

    Me too…I never, ever, ever forward these on. Why would I? Same as these stupid things people paste on Facebook, “if you agree, please re-post”. No chance. Aside from the pointlessness of it all, I object to being bought into some ludicrous idea without any say in it. So I have no compunction about being completely miserable and Scottish about it!

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