Colleen Figg

Don't open this e-mail

2008-11-07 10:37

Colleen Figg

In the beginning, Gates created e-mail. The world went mad with joy at this new toy, we could send around jokes and funnies to all our friends and families and in fact work became much more exciting with the prospect of seeing what was in our inbox (that was entirely unrelated to work) than it had ever been before.

At first it was all about fun and inspiration, humour, comedy and sex jokes. It was about awe inspiring pictures of nature and animals that we might never have got to see or share and about sending around family pictures, keeping in touch and organising events for our eternal amusement.

Gradually a number of people, seemingly in the grip of a creeping terror or state of paranoia discovered nightmares lurking in ordinary everyday objects/matters and started creating and sending around these warning e-mails, so that we soon became aware that even the most innocuous looking plastic bottle could herald an unexpected but torturous death.

This slow death would involve worms consuming you from the inside out and finish with you eventually being asphyxiated to death by a rare kind of strangler fig (only found in a remote Andean location) whose seeds would germinate in the actual molecules of the plastic bottle and would lodge, unbeknown to you, in your throat where they'd wrap their creeping tendrils around your oesophagus. We soon learned to Stay Away from Bottled Water.

We also heard how Coca-Cola is actually a high octane fuel and degreaser combination developed by communist bloc countries for use in the maintenance of their heavy duty engines and nuclear power plants. It's also excellent for dissolving diamonds, bleaching teeth, removing grease and oil stains from overalls and killing cockroaches they say. How we ever got tricked into drinking this god-awful brew we will never know but thanks to those in the know we will, from now on, just say no!


Technology morphed to a new level when e-mails started becoming intelligent. They would know who had sent them and where they were being sent to and if, within nine minutes of your receiving them, you had not forwarded them to fifteen of your aunts and cousins, the forces of darkness would be brought to bear on you and your miserable life in the form of some catastrophic event involving you or your loved ones and several Angels of Death. Big Brother is watching.

Just the other day we got sent pictures of a sea awash with the blood of slaughtered dolphins and urged to petition off to "Disgraceful Denmark" to stop the brutal carnage of these happy chirruping creatures whose only ambition is to frolic about in the sea and save us from sharks. At the same time we received this we received another, this time urging us to conglomerate in as many numbers as we could muster at an island off the coast of Japan where they, too, were carving up dolphins and painting the sea red.

While I was booking my ticket to Japan and Denmark respectively I was urged, with the aid of some really ghastly pictures, to get myself to a place where horse torture is being practised on a wholesale scale and while I was trying to juggle my diary to accommodate this cause I heard about seventeen children who had been stolen and/or were at death's door but who Gates (the man is a marvel) had promised to save if I would just forward the (obviously tracked) e-mail on to 450 people within the next half hour.

While all this was going on, I was offered several getaways and free entries to competitions if I would just part with 20 e-mail addresses. Then I was sent a ribbon to campaign against cancer.

Nowhere does it say quite who we are campaigning against, where the Cancer Headquarters are was never laid out, and who was "In Charge" was equally uncertain.

Trying times, people. Many rivers to cross. E-mails to forward, and digest, by the score. Funnies just about gone. Everything deathly serious now.

Send your comments to Colleen.

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