I hate crap email. Not spam, but the endlessly forwarded trite, stupid, untrue, bigoted crap. I don’t mind the jokes, as long as I don’t get too many at one time. I enjoy a good laugh, but if there are enough that I can’t get through them in the 7 minutes that constitutes my attention span, they will wind up in the trash without me ever having looked at them. And I won’t feel bad about it, either. I sit at this computer all day long, dealing with a buttload of email between all my other responsibilities. The bloom is off the rose, my friends. But like I said, a joke or two is fine. It’s the other stuff that warrants disdain and possible punishment (perhaps caning) of the sender. The stuff that should be subject to a 2 second google search to make sure it’s not outdated or a hoax or just plain bullshit before it gets sent to anyone. They fall into a few distinct groups:
The “Safety” Squad
These are the emails that are sent by people who care about you, with only good intentions. They tell you how to best avoid becoming a victim. They educate you on safety. They give you safe driving tips. They tell you how to protect your credit and your identity. They plead for your help finding lost children. They teach you self-defense. They alert you to health hazards in your medicine, deodorant and air freshener. They are For Your Own Good. But Gah! I realize that *77 is a good thing to know about and the first time I heard about it, I thought, “hmm. Good to know”. The 11,469,379th time I heard about it, I thought something more like, “Fuck!” And that girl? The missing one? She’s 29 now. She’s a brain surgeon in Topeka. Stop it. I know you mean well, but before you send me one of these, look at the list of recipients in the forwarded emails. If there are more than…say…two, assume that they each told two friends, and they told two and so on and so on…and I ALREADY FUCKING SAW IT ELEVENTY MILLION TIMES!
These are all about sick kids and little old ladies and poor little urchins whose mothers are dying and need some pretty shoes to wear to their sister’s funerals when they take the beautiful doll they bought with the money they made selling their hair which they cut off to show support for their sick teammate who was born in the projects but stayed out of trouble because his mentor priest who is only alive today because someone helped him pick up his books on the way home from school where there was only one teacher who ever showed and interest in him and made him what he is today.
Here is what I say to that: Yes, in fact, I have stopped to watch kids on a merry-go-round. And I’ve followed a butterfly’s erratic flight. And then I went home because the little screaming fuckers were giving me a headache and the damned butterfly turned out to be a moth and it flew near me and I freaked out and whacked it and it left a smudge on the wall and it was flapping around on the carpet and the dog starting spazzing out and the cat came over to see what was going on and I stepped on his tail and he hissed ran and the dog took a big anxiety shit on the carpet and, wait – let me just wipe away this tear, because it’s all so beeeeeaaaauuutifuuuulllll?..(sob)
I don’t care about some kid’s class project. In fact, that kid has long since flunked out of school because he was stupid enough to depend on assholes like me for a school project. As for the endless petitions – yeah, that’s effective. It’s not like the internet could be used to (gasp) fabricate anything. No, those ?signatures? are all legitimate. And my congressman? If I am unhappy with something, I’ll write him all by myself, thank you. Anyone who knows me can tell you that if there’s one thing I am not afraid to do and that’s stand up for myself. I write letters all the time. I’ll continue to do so without signing my name after Mickey Mouse and before Charles Manson and forwarding it to everyone I know.
The Chain Gang
“Pass this on to 10 people”? I hate those words. Look, I don’t believe in that crap. I know that sending an email to ten people will not bring me fame or fortune. Failing to do so will not ensure that my fiancé or best friend or prized bull will be struck by lightning or gunned down by Uzi-sporting rabid hedgehogs. But if I did believe in it, I would be wondering why someone who supposedly cares about me would put me in a situation that would possibly result in my spontaneously combusting. Besides, the rabid hedgehogs have much more important things to worry about than my sending an email. They’re busy waiting for the Taco bell dog to run across the screen.
Something for Nothing
Walt Disney and Bill Gates and the folks at Coca-Cola and Gerber are rich. RICH. They know that people will actually buy their products and thus will not be giving anything away. Even if I did sent an email to ten people and gave birth between 1986 and 1998.
I love you. I truly do. But I will not be sending you any poems about my love. I will not be giving e-hugs or kisses. I hate cutesy cartoon duckies and bunnies and bouncing smiley faces. I hated it in my 7th grade yearbook and I hate it 24 years later. ?A ring goes round and never ends and that’s how long that we’ll be friends.? Ugh. How about ?A ring goes round and never ends and hey bitch, when are you going to give me my black blouse back? Where’s the beer?? See? That’s much better. That’s how my friends and I talk to each other, except for the ring part, because a) we don’t give a shit, b) If my friend started babbling in rhymes about rings I’d have her committed and c) my friends are not idiots and they know what shape a ring is, since they watched Sesame Street and Electric Company and they’re not – I don’t know – retarded, so they don’t need a little poem to remind them.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
OK, sometimes the surveys can be fun, but only if I am really bored or if they ask interesting questions. Most don’t. I have to be honest, I never once thought about whether C likes bacon bits or croutons. I don’t give a shit if Tee eats a chocolate cone or a vanilla one. As long as I get my twist cone dipped in chocolate she could be eating frozen shit for all I care. And who decided that bits and croutons are mutually exclusive? We used to do this in grade school. It was the boring, benign cousin of slam books. I may act like I’m seven sometimes, but no. And WHY do you need to know if I still have my appendix and tonsils? Do you need them for some kid’s science project? And I don’t care what A’s favorite smell is. It could be dog farts and dead buffalo and I would still love her.
The Patriot Act
The most hated of all the e-shit. I love this country. I am an American. I AM AN AMERICAN. I don’t have to love the federal government to love America. I don’t have to love the president to love America. I would love to buy all American products, but I sure as hell can’t afford an American car and everything else is shipped out to me manufactured by a 4 year old in a third world country for 3 cents a day and then shipped back here to have a “Made in the USA” tag slapped on it anyway. I support our troops. I respect each and every one of the people who are willing to die for me. For my right to buy a foreign car and gas on a Tuesday and a Muslim stamp if I damned well please.
I hate the assumption that my political views match yours. I hate that you make it clear that my choice of political party makes me unpatriotic. I hate that you equate patriotism with blindly following what someone tells me. Someone who can’t pronounce nuclear. I AM patriotic. I am an American. And I am proud. And I am patriotic. And I don’t need your thinly disguised bigotry to tell me I’m not. Stop it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to check my email.