I know you've had those days. Those days where the phone rings every fifteen seconds, you are on your eleventy millionth "Mommy!" of the day, paper keeps piling on your desk at a rate that will completely wipe out the rain forest by Tuesday, and people keep popping by to ask if you can volunteer/help/chair/bring/drive/join/donate. You are on the phone, on hold. Dripping into your brain is the easy-listening version of "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones, when you hear that little 'bing' that says you have a new email. Your hand wanders over to the computer mouse, and it you open the email sent by one of your friends.
You open it, and there is a sweet poem or picture, letting you know that your friend is thinking of you and thinks you are special. Well, you think. That's nice. Your day is nuts and stressful, and it is good to have a reminder that someone out there you care about thinks kindly of you and wishes you well. You are still on hold. The music has now changed, and a symphony of muted violins is playing “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).” You scroll down further, hoping to find more inspirational thought, and then, BLAMMO, there it is.
You know what I'm talking about. The emotional blackmail. The part of the email that says something like, "See how much I care about you? I took twelve seconds to hit 'forward' and type in your screen name to show you that you are one of my favoritest people. If you don't forward this on and hit reply, I will know that our whole friendship, even that time when you stayed by me for 72 hours straight after my fiancée broke off our engagement and I alternately drank bottles of wine and threw them up, was just a complete sham, and you really hated me all along. Plus, you will have really bad luck and you will probably have to file for bankruptcy."
I'd like to think that my friends, whose attention spans can be even shorter than mine, read the sweet, thoughtful part of the email, and then got tired of reading and never got to the blackmail part of the message. Alternatively, they saw that part, but ignored it, wanting only to send the original sentiment. I hope. Because I have never ever ever once in my life forwarded or replied to one of those things, mainly because the best way to get me to refuse to do something is to tell me that I have to do it, OR ELSE. Whether or not I forward an email does not make me your friend, and I resent like h-e-double-bendy-straws any implications to the contrary. Not to mention the fact that you are now person number 28,371,492 who has asked me to do something today. Get in line.
Even worse than those are the pictures you see all over Facebook and things like that. There will be a picture of some pitiful animal in doggie jail. The caption will be something like, "Click 'like' if you want Scooter to live another day, 'comment' if you think you should spay or neuter your pets, and ignore if you think all puppies should be killed with hammers." Are those really my only options? Really? It is one thing to say, "Here's Scooter, he's a Chihuahua/Great Dane mix, and you can adopt him at the Walton Animal Shelter by calling (770) 267-1322." (No seriously, do that. If you need more info, click here.) It is quite another to say that if I don't share Scooter's picture then I want a spotted puppy coat like Cruella DeVil.
So here's the deal: I don't want anyone's children to suffer. I don't want any of my friends and relatives to have bad things happen to them. I want all puppies and kittens to go to loving forever homes. I love my friends and family, and I appreciate their many kindnesses. My failure to click 'like' or forward something on has nothing to do with the depth of my feelings, the number or frequency of my prayers, or my desire for a particular outcome.
Unrelatedly, the number of comments and Facebook and Twitter shares I get from these articles really do let me know whether or not I’m speaking to an empty room. (And how much this blog deserves a publishing contract – hint, hint Patch owners AOL.) Not to mention how much you love me, my personal worth as an individual, and how much you want good things to happen to me. I don’t want to be sad and feel unloved tonight. Now. Feel free to click share!!