The Ultimate Email Urban Legend

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A young man was diagnosed with a life-threatening bout of food poisoning after eating part of a cooked rat that had fallen into his eight-piece chicken dinner that he had purchased from Kentucky Fried Chicken.

After his recovery, he felt great, and remembering that it was National Friendship week, he asked his geeky roommate to go out and celebrate with him. His roommate didn’t feel like going out, because he wanted to stay at home and bake cookies from a Neiman-Marcus recipe that someone had paid $250 for and had forwarded to every person in America over the Internet.

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What you should know about Chain Letters

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1. Big companies don’t do business via chain letter. Bill Gates is not giving you $1000, and Disney is not giving you a free vacation. There is no baby food company issuing class-action checks. You can relax; there is no need to pass it on “just in case it’s true”. Furthermore, just because someone said in the message, four generations back, that “we checked it out and it’s legit”, does not actually make it true.

2. There is no kidney theft ring in New Orleans. No one is waking up in a bathtub full of ice with their kidneys missing, even if a friend of a friend swears it happened to their cousin. If you are hell bent on believing the kidney-theft ring stories, please see:

And I quote: “The National Kidney Foundation has repeatedly issued requests for actual victims of organ thieves to come forward and tell their stories. None have.” That’s “none” as in “zero”. Not even your friend’s cousin.

3. Neiman Marcus doesn’t really sell a $250 cookie recipe. And even if they do, we all have it. And even if you don’t, you can get a copy at:

Then, if you make the recipe, decide the cookies are that awesome, feel free to pass the recipe on. You can also make cookies showing how to comfort someone who failed a test which is also one of the best ways to support and uplift your friend.

4. We all know all 500 ways to drive your roommates crazy, irritate co-workers and creep out people on an elevator. We also know exactly how many engineers, college students, Usenet posters and people from each and every world ethnicity it takes to change a lightbulb.

5. Even if the latest NASA rocket disaster DID contain plutonium that went to particulate over the eastern seaboard, do you REALLY think this information would reach the public via an anonymous AOL chain-letter?

6. There is no “Good Times” virus. In fact, you should never, ever, ever forward any email containing any virus warning unless you first confirm it at an actual site of an actual company that actually works on combatting viruses. And even then, don’t forward it. We don’t care.

7. If you’re using Outlook, IE, or Netscape to write email, turn off the “HTML encoding.” Those of us on Unix shells can’t read it, and don’t care enough to save the attachment and then view it with a web browser, since you’re probably forwarding us a copy of the Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe anyway.

8. If you still absolutely MUST forward that 10th-generation message from a friend, at least have the decency to trim the eight miles of headers showing everyone else who’s received it over the last 6 months. It sure wouldn’t hurt to get rid of all the that begin each line. Besides, if it has gone around that many times – We’ve probably already seen it.

9. Craig Shergold in England is not dying of cancer or anything else at this time and would like everyone to stop sending him their business cards. He apparently is also no longer a “little boy” either.

10. The telephone company does not check your phone line by calling you and asking you to dial 90#. Criminals cannot “get access to your long distance account” by doing this either. Even if someone asks, and you do it, nothing will happen.

11. There is no youth gang driving around town after dark with their lights off intending to shoot you if you blink your headlights at them.

12. The guys in the white van selling speakers, if they exist, are selling stolen goods, not factory over-runs.

13. AOL will not donate 3 cents to the American Cancer Society, or anyone else, every time you forward a message about Jessica Midek having leukemia.

15. Top 10 lists are really not that funny. Top 15 lists, on the other hand…

Continue ReadingWhat you should know about Chain Letters