Monday, July 7, 2008


By Kavya Shankre Gowda
Let me warn you. You have no choice but to finish reading this write up now or else bad luck will befall on you in the next few days. It happened about a month ago. A reader paused to attend to personal necessities after reading the first paragraph of one of my previous article and forgot to return. Before he could blink, Mike Tyson appeared from no where and bit his ears.
However, if you read this column every month and e-mail your friends about it, you will be showered with nothing but good luck.
Okay, okay, I'll stop.
Did you believe me when I said you must read this article or you will invite bad luck in your life in the coming days?. Are you one of those internet freaks who believe and forward every chain letter that you receive? Chain letters that annoy but still you fall for it.
What are chain letters? Anything that says "If you do not forward this e-mail then bad luck will prevail forever and if you forward this to 5 people then something( Like your boss will not assign you any task) good will happen within 5 minutes" or something along that line is considered a chain letter. Not just that but anything that gets forwarded to so many people even if there are no promises of good luck, like virus alerts or asking help for a cancer patient is considered a chain letter!
The most common form of chain letter nowadays are friendship stories, wishes and poems that urge you to pass them to everyone in your address book. Most of them promise a favorable but mostly impossible outcome if you pass it on to enough people.
There are more, like for every person you forward the message to; Microsoft will send you $500 or so. If you believe this then you badly need to brush up your math. Have you ever wondered that handing out $500 each to an ever-expanding number of people would bankrupt even Bill Gates? Or how on earth would he get your bank account number to fill it up?
I got an "Angel Wish" chain letter from a friend last week but instead of telling me to forward it; she asked if I could write about the stupidity of it. And that’s what made me write this article.
What's the big deal about these chain letters then? Is this really a problem? One website explains: "There are two main problems, which affect any type of chain letter. The first is quite simple; the sheer volume of mail generated by a successful chain letter clogs up mail servers and connections, slowing down the whole Internet. The second problem is even more annoying. Did you ever wonder where the scum who keep offering you credit cards and related spam got your email address? They buy addresses in bulk from "marketing" companies (you've probably been offered some of these as well.) Where do the "marketing" companies get addresses? Absolutely anywhere. Take a look at a chain letter. Isn't it great how the names and, often, email addresses of everyone it's been sent to are listed on it? I've counted over 200 email addresses visible on one chain letter. A simple program can strip all of these from the message, ready to be sold to someone who will then send you ten messages a day offering you a free life insurance quote. Whoever sent the chain letter to you has already, quite unintentionally, exposed you to this risk. Please don't expose anyone else. A related tip: When forwarding jokes (which are not chain letters, because they benefit everyone that receives them and not just some geek) clear out all the email addresses on it before forwarding. This both makes life hard for spammers and reduces the size of the message, so it sends faster."
There is a solution to this chain-letter plague. Delete them. If a poem touched and inspired you deeply, you may save it, print it, pin it on your wall, but please do not forward it to others.
Finally, every rule has an exception. If you ask your pals to read this article, I won't mind. In fact, I'm encouraging you to do it and all the good things that you've been experiencing will continue to happen to you.
For example, the sun will still rise in the east tomorrow.

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