I have a hobby that few people know about.
I like to disprove, contradict and generally spoil the fun of email forwards. For instance, here’s an actual forward I received yesterday:
At three minutes and four seconds after 2 AM on the 6th of May this year, the time and date will be 02:03:04 05/06/07.
This will never happen again!
After reading this, I hit “reply all” and typed up this response:
What about 2107? Or 2207? They would read 02:03:04 05/06/07 as well.
This “phenomenon” occurs every 100 years. Please don’t forward me this same email next century.
Satisfied, I then hit the “send” button.
I can never resist pointing out inaccuracies in a forward. And I always include everyone in the distribution list in my response, even though half of them are total strangers. I’m willing to live with their first Internet impression of me as being a smarmy know-it-all.
I admit, sometimes I struggle internally with whether to reply or not. There is something inherently wrong about doing a reply-all to a forward. Since a forward is the Internet’s version of junk mail, hitting reply essentially created another round of junk mail into everyone’s inbox. It’s sort of like two wrongs don’t make a right.
So why do I do it? Boredom at work, for one. But more importantly, my goal is to introduce some accountability in sending out a forward. When you send something out to everyone in your contact folder, you are essentially deeming this item to be so funny or so interesting that everyone you know absolutely must read it. People shouldn’t be so eager to blindly forward things along. Their reputation should be at stake.
And that’s where I come in. I provide virtual public humiliation. If I receive something forwarded to me full of incorrect or illogical statements I will respond in a condescending and sarcastic manner to the entire distribution list. Sending a forward now puts you at risk of being openly discredited in front of everyone you hold dear. It is the ultimate Internet de-pantsing. Just as some people are afraid of speaking in front of a group, I am hoping to introduce a little anxiety into emailing a large group.
Maybe, over time, we might see an end to these types of forwards altogether. You’ll know who to thank.
Finally, just for fun, here’s another forward I received a while back. See if you can debunk it.
UNBELIEVABLE MATH PROBLEM! Who came up with this and why is that person not running the country!
1. Grab a calculator. (you won’t be able to do this one in your head)
2. Key in the first three digits of your phone number (NOT the area code)
3. Multiply by 80
4. Add 1
5. Multiply by 250
6. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number
7. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number again.
8. Subtract 250
9. Divide number by 2
Do you recognize the answer?
I’m not going to post my response to this, but I assure you it was long-winded and smarmy as hell. This is not an unbelievable math problem, but yes, perhaps I should be running the country.