• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Social distancing? Try a better way to work remotely on your online files. Dokkio, a new product from PBworks, can help your team find, organize, and collaborate on your Drive, Gmail, Dropbox, Box, and Slack files. Sign up for free.


Email Karma

Page history last edited by Ron Regan 1 year, 3 months ago

E-mail  Karma


(minor additions and edits)


E-mail karma



Sunday, Dec 23, 2007 - 06:04 AM

By Jim Cook


My e-mail inbox reminds me daily of how big and important I am.


It starts with the numerous offers to be a part of international business deals involving millions of dollars. Then it progresses with the political e-mails from Karl Rove himself outlining how I, personally can stop Hillary now, or from Hillary Clinton herself on how I can stop Karl. Inflating my ego further are missives from hot local singles who want to chat with me tonight.


And then there’s the appeal that really brings it home, the chain letter on behalf of an ill child. I usually get about three e-mails per week detailing the plight of little Bobby Smith, who is dying of carciseptilupus, and how if I just forward this e-mail to 10 friends, the positive energy created by all this goodwill will cure little Bobby of his affliction. If I don’t forward the chain letter, I’m warned that Bobby will perish.


My first impulse is to continue the chain and save Bobby, but there’s a Chinese proverb that says he who saves a life is responsible for it. I’m not Chinese, but I have eaten a lot of Chinese food, so I feel I should put some thought into this over some General Tso chicken.


The pro-life argument usually runs that you could be saving the next Einstein, but it never addresses the possibility that you might also be saving the next Hitler. I know that’s “the glass if half empty” thinking, but I’m a “the glass is half empty and the guy who was drinking out of it had mono and a cut on his lip” sort of thinker.


What if little Bobby is the demon seed? Has anyone checked his head for triple sixes? What if by sparing little Bobby, I’m enabling the rise of a genocidal tyrant? Even if little Bobby isn’t the next Pol Pot, what if I’m allowing a smaller evil into the world? What if he grows up to be the guy whose flatulence makes bus rides unbearable for his fellow riders, turning yet more people off to public transit? What if he’s a close talker, a mouth breather, a touchy-feely person or has one of those other annoying personality traits that makes life unbearable by those cursed by fate to be close to him. What if by sparing little Bobby I make life worse for his immediate circle of family and friends, thus creating a ripple effect that makes things slightly worse for everyone?


Then I consider my own interests. Are little Bobby’s parents rich? Do they have insurance?


Does their insurance cover catastrophic e-mail? Are they aware that I hold their child’s life in my hands? I wouldn’t hold little Bobby’s life hostage or anything, but hey, if the doctors are getting paid, I ought to get mine too. It’s not med school or anything, but if I’m really conscientious and forward the e-mail to 10 friends who I believe will continue the chain, and perhaps follow up with some after e-mail calls to make sure, I’ve invested some time into this and should see a return.


It doesn’t have to be money. Perhaps I should contact Bobby’s parents, cut a deal with them.


Tell them I’ll forward the e-mail, but that I’ve got dibs on one of Bobby’s kidneys and an eye if something ever happens to me. That seems fair enough.


Exhausted from examining the possibilities,  I decide to let fortune make the decision. I flip a coin. It comes up heads. I forward the e-mail.


Sigh. With great power comes great responsibility. Now I know how the president and Spiderman feel.


Bobby Smith’s parents can send their bank account and pin number to jcook@dothaneagle.com


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.