Friday, June 06, 2008

Make 24 Copies

Recently, somebody on one of my mailing lists made the mistake of sending the following chain letter to the group:

Ina ng Laging saklolo (pls do not ignore)

In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Mother of Perpetual Help, please help our parents, brothers, sisters and other people of The world. Let us pray to the Mother of Perpetual Help. The letter started in Davao City , Philippines scattered all over the world. Please send 24 copies to your friends.

Do not laugh or delete this, for something might happen.

Alvin Patrimonio's salary increased when he mailed 24 copies to his friends and relatives. Benjie Paras just laughed it off and lost his job.

Jay Ilagan ignored the letter, but made 24 copies. He forgot though to send them, he later died in an accident.

Mr. Duterte requested his secretary to make 24 copies and sent these to his friends and relatives, he became Mayor of Davao City .

Tapusin MO lang within 10 days at huwag ipagwalang bahala. Manalangin sa Ina ng Laging Saklolo. Tandaan ninyo sa loob ng 15 days magkakaroon kayo ng sorpresa.

Thank you very much and

Now, I've been entrenched in the Internet since the last half of the 1990s, when Internet connections were only just starting to attain public consciousness in the Philippines. As a result, I've seen more than my fair share of chain letters, spam mail, computer viruses, trojan horses, and adware in the last twenty years. To say that I've grown to hate the stuff would be an understatement.

I used to launch into long tirades every time somebody sent me one of these nasty things, but eventually I wised up and realized that what I was doing was far more offensive than the chain letters themselves. So for the most part nowadays, I gently point out the error of each sender's ways, give them a nice pat on the head, and send them off.

I find that the latter approach has been far less effective than my old, trauma-inducing ways. But I am getting soft in my old age, after all.

For this momentous occasion, however, my initial response was cut short by the fact that somebody had already answered the offender in question:

Oooh a chain letter. Now THAT is a tale indeed.

I pity those who believe in them.

At that point, I couldn't help myself. I figured that I could write a far better response than something that only consisted of two lines and three sentences. (No offense intended to its eminent poster, of course -- we're of like minds, and I do respect his gaming skills.)

So after about an hour's investment, I ended up with the following monstrosity of an e-mail:

> Oooh a chain letter. Now THAT is a tale indeed.
> I pity those who believe in them.

B... but it's true! The letter says so!

> Jay Ilagan ignored the letter, but made 24 copies. He

> forgot though to send them, he later died in an
> accident.

See? Never mind that Jay Ilagan died in 1992, when Internet service in the Philippines was still in its infancy! The power of the chain letter was such that it stuck down Jay Ilagan at a time when most of the country didn't even have phone lines!

Moreover, I have information from other legitimate, believable sources that ignoring or deleting this chain letter was responsible for other calamitous disasters in recent times!

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo refused to send out this chain letter shortly after EDSA 2, and just look at what happened to her! Her involvement in spurious election results and (ironically) a massive scandal involving broadband internet - among others - turned most of the public against her!

Antonio Trillanes came upon this chain letter in November 2007, after going over the website that his followers had created. He ignored it because he had "more important things to consider". Big mistake - his revolt the next day got almost no supporters at all, destroyed a good hotel, and was crushed by the government!

And in addition to them, numerous other anonymous people have refused to send the message and have had various bad things happen to them! John Paul Walangmalay ignored the chain letter and died the next day from being run over by a speeding kalesa! Melvin Okeydokey sent out only three copies, and after two days suffered a severe concussion when a giant mutant sayote came over to his house and beat him up! Sean Uy deleted the message and realized the next morning that ALL THE BEER IN HIS FRIDGE WAS GONE!

So please... for your own future and well-being, please, please please PLEASE don't ignore this chain letter! Your very life and sanity may be at stake!

Yes, I'm still evil.

I did write an apology at the end, of course. It wasn't much of a retraction for the little piece of work that you see above... but then, I wasn't exactly too open to apology in the first place. I just wanted to make it clear that I was making fun of the message and not the messenger. If I made a bunch of people laugh in the process, then I was at least partially successful.

Seriously, though... I'm just having a bit of fun here. Apologies in advance to anyone who may be offended; I hoped that my writing would get at least a little laugh out of you.

Oh, and please don't send letters like these. No matter how authoritative they might sound, they're never accurate. In addition, there are quite a few people on the Internet who have encountered a lot of these things, and their responses are likely to be very negative, more often than not. So... do be careful about what you read and send, especially to mailing lists.

That said, that bit about the giant mutant
sayote is completely true. Honest.

Was it mean? Yes. Was it incredibly petty? Yes. Was it unbelievably vindictive? Yes.

Was it extremely satisfying? You'd better believe it was.

I'm still evil, after all.

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