I Am The Weakest Link

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I've been meaning to post this gripe for quite some time, and I'm finally getting around to it. (Then again, I could say that about a bunch of blogs...I've got notes stashed and am just trying to find the time to get around to posting them all, to get into a rhythm of writing and keeping up with the topics I've got planned. Man, I'm one sentence in and I'm already digressing. What's sad is that's not even a record for me.) Where was I? Oh yeah, THIS blog:

I hate chain emails. Can't stand 'em. I don't mind getting emails that share a lovely or touching story (even if I read it last year the previous time you sent it to me)...some, whether real or fake, are inspirational and I find myself simultaneously touched by the heart of the story and cynical about its veracity...yet still perhaps better for the few moments I took to peruse their usually emotionally manipulative tale. And a few days ago, I got an email chain (I like to refer to it as chainmail) with some amazing pictures of soldiers in Iraq and/or Afghanistan...you've seen 'em probably: photos both heartwarming and heartbreaking: a soldier petting a kitten, a group of soldiers circled in prayers, a couple of soldiers holding injured—possibly deceased—children. Some really amazing shots.

Yet this is the third time I've seen them. They still have great impact this third time around, but I couldn't help but be a little irked at getting them again. A great guy in my bible study sent them to me. He's a working actor, so it was interesting to see some of the emails of people he sent it to, and from whom he got it. And everyone was saying "no way I'm breaking THIS chain, people." And reading back and back and back it was kinda fun to note certain emails of relatively famous people, because they were passing it among each other, trickling it down. I want to call KROQ, the local alternative station, and tease morning show traffic personality Lisa May that now do I not only have her personal email, I know the names of her siblings and that her mother's email designation is Mom May.

So some of them ARE worthy of passing on, sure. And if the contents merits it on its own, I might send it to a select few people whom I expect would appreciate it, with an apologetic disclaimer that I hope they haven't seen it yet. But that's very very rare for me to do. But if the email has at the end of it some tag suggesting I should forward it to even a portion of everyone I know...know this: I ain't gonna.

And if it's more than a suggestion, if it's a requirement with a threat attached ("forward this to 37 people within 16.9 minutes or 86 pigeons will crap on your car")...suffice to say I'm not forwarding it, nor am I rushing out to check the paint job on my Dodge.

And as a believer in Christ, I also don't buy into the ones that promise me 'blessings' if I pass them along. I know, I know, "little Jenny" needs global prayer because "she has ______" (fill in the blank with horrible real-life fatal disease). My sister and other friends I know are fighting cancer, I know someone from church who battles a strange neuro-vertigo type thing the doctors can't even figure out (unless I'm not up to date on the diagnosis) and there are literally hundreds of people I should be praying for every day. And I'm not trying to sound callous...sometimes I do pray for the "little Jenny's" of the world. Maybe not often enough. But an email asking me to pray and pass the email along under penalty of losing my salvation, or promising me blessings in abundance...I'm thinking that's not going to get me on my knees.

I trust God's got me covered, and isn't basing His Wonderful Providence on my proliferation of stories about praying for a possibly non-existent "little Jenny." He knows all, and surely He knows the contents of my Sent Items folder. But I don't think He's that concerned that I don't follow through passing along the touching tale of...well whatever. It's not like that was part of Christ's Great Commission.

And I sincerely doubt I'll be harmed by NOT doing it. God ain't Karma, I don't believe He works that way.

And yet here I am at MySpace. And lo and behold, the MySpace version of the scourge of existence: Bulletins. Sure, I've sent out a few. I got crap from MySpace friends for sharing my excitement about the Rose Bowl. No big deal, I can take it. But everyday, multiple someones are passing along ridiculous chain messages...and these don't even have enlightening missives. Suffice to say I don't want to know what your Porn Star name would be, especially if it's based on criteria like your most beloved pet and the first street you lived on as a child.

Sure, I enjoy learning more about friends and new acquaintances...so if I'm reading a 40-50 question survey about your middle name for the upmteenth time, I'm fine with that...(really, how many IS an umpteenth...math majors, can you help me out?). Telling me you've got new pics? Great, I'll check 'em out. Updated your page? Cool, I'll click and take a looksee. I might send out such bulletins myself someday, so I can't gripe about those. But I've never sent one asking people to pass it along. And the only one I can imagine doing so with is one 'advertising' the bible study I go to, spreading the word about spreading the Word.

So I can understand some bulletins, because if you're shouting out to spread news or whatever, that's cool. But telling me I'm going to step on glass and bleed to death if I don't repost some inconsequential note? Nope. I'd RATHER walk on bottle shards.

Break the chain, people!