Saturday, February 28, 2009

Corning, coulmn, and chain mail

I have more to blog about our Corning experience, but Betty and I have two days home, getting ready for our southern beading marathon so I will enter a column published recently in the Springville Journal and the Arcade Herald....

Terry Stephan

Changing Lanes:chainletters
I remember some of the first chain letters I received years ago. One explained how I could become rich. The letter had a list of names and addresses. I was to send a dollar to each name on the list. Then add my information to the bottom of the list, remove the top name, make copies and send the list to ten new people.
If everybody followed the rules, by the time my name worked its way to the top of the list, I would have made somewhere in the neighborhood of a bazillion dollars.
I followed the instructions. For twenty dollars and postage, I was sure I was going to make a killing. I sat back and thought about what I would do with all the money when it came rolling in.
I pondered whether it was legal. Usually any easy way to make money is illegal. If I began bringing shopping bags full of dollar bills into the bank to deposit, would someone start asking questions?
Money did eventually show up. I received two letters; each one contained a single dollar bill. It took a while, but I realized my get-rich dream had dried up and blown away.
Another chain letter, which is seen more often, was full of death and bad luck stories. If I broke the chain, I would be responsible for all future poverty, destruction, disease and misfortune in my family.
Ha! The trick was on them, I was already responsible for most of that stuff. I quickly fed the letter and envelope into the wood stove.
Since then, and to this day, I have had an ongoing contest involving chain letters. It is a keep-me-on-my-toes and keep-my-senses-sharp kind of thing.
Back then, I tried to see how fast I could identify a communication as a chain letter. Then, how fast I could destroy and dump it into the closest waste receptacle. It was great for manual dexterity; I cut my time down to a matter of seconds, from opening the correspondence to crumpled paper at the bottom of the waste can.
I always had a twinge of guilt, not because I broke the chain, but because I threw out a letter that someone had taken the time and effort to write.
In the wonderful world of email today, destroying chain letters has become my favorite (and only) computer game. I waste a vast amount of time without outside influence, so I’m unhappy when external stuff wastes it as well. News about our government spending gives me enough doom and gloom. I don’t need additional manufactured doom and gloom from chain letter prophecy., who bills themselves as “the definitive internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation”, has supplied me with some guilt relief.
They informed me (via email), any email that asks you to forward a chain letter to your friends, or sign a petition, or you'll get bad luck, good luck, or whatever, almost always has a tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and emails of folks you forward to. The host sender is getting a copy each time it is forwarded, and then is able to get lists of 'active' emails to use in SPAM, or sell to other spammers. This of course includes the most recent spate of chain letters that profess devotion to friendship and lovey-dovey-ness… Yuck!!
Therefore, if you get perverse joy from deleting chain letters, no more guilt. Do as I do, it takes microseconds. Speedily eviscerate with your mouse. Point, click delete, point, click delete. It’s fun and good for manual and mental dexterity, and your internet health.
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