I’ve never been superstitious. My mother took care of that at an early age.
“This,” she declared, opening a chain letter at the kitchen table, “is a chain letter. Never forward these. If you do, terrible things will happen to you. The last person to forward a chain letter had something vague and unnecessary happen and it changed her life.”
OK, maybe she didn’t say that exactly, but she did throw it away, grumbling under her breath about “wasting stamps” and “superstitious garbage”.
That’s always stuck with me.
In those days, a chain letter was, really, a letter. It came to your house disguised as a personal letter, someone wondering about your life, as opposed to the waste of paper that it really was.
Of course, chain mail no longer comes in the real mail; and in the same way the envelope it used to come in looked like it might be something good, the subject line of the e-mail that now comes to your inbox suggests that it’s equally important.
I throw them away by the megabytes.
“You HAVE to OPEN this!”
“I DONT NORMALY FWD THESE BUT WHY RISK………….”
Would I lose your respect if I told you I used to actually read these things?
You what? You never --?
But I did. I read them. I read several of them.
And you know what? What chain mail is, despite the new-fangled way of delivering them?
It’s the Middle Ages.
We’ve returned – did we ever leave? – to repeating stories, deep in the woods, the shadows of flames playing on our faces. We’ve returned to believing unsubstantiated tripe regarding friends of friends, of the dangers that befall people when they’re alone, of the reversal of fortunes for those who fail to do as the Fates require, even as it often invokes God Himself.
Either that, or we just like to forward things.