Oh damn chain letter, how I hate thee…

We’ve all gotten one. In fact, there are probably two in your collective social inbox right now. There have been many incarnations of these letters over the years. My most recent one came in via my second cousin on Facebook’s Messenger app:

If i don’t get this back I’m obviously not a close friend.
Now, I have a game for you, it’s been played since 1977. Once you read this, you have to send it to 15 people. Your next 5 days will be like this:
Day 1 — you will wake up to the biggest shock of your life.
Day 2 — you will cross paths with an old friend you have missed.
Day 3 — you will find yourself with a lot of money.
Day 4 — your day will be perfect.
Day 5 — the love of your life will kiss you.
Don’t break this. Send it to 14 friends in 10 minutes. It’s not that hard. Whoever sent this to you must care about you. Don’t know how to send it? Lol. Just hold your finger on it and it should say forward.

At first glance I was incredulous that people still forward these out, especially young teenagers. My first thought was to educate but I quickly thought better of it given the first sentence “If i don’t get this back I’m obviously not a close friend.” Not wanting her to think that I am uncaring, I first sent the stupid thing back to her. I then decided to do what I typically do in these situations by sending her to the related Snopes article on the subject. Much to my dismay, there was no entry. In fact I found it difficult to find anything of substance on Google relating to these irritating, social engineered worthless stolen bytes. I found a few blog entries on wattpad that were sharing the same text between young women. Do they like to share these with their friends? Do their friends like to receive them? The number of shares required for the wonderful 5 days to come true is different depending on which version of this you receive, so YMMV.

What the heck, I says to myself, I’ll give it a try and write about my experience. That’s when it hit me, I’m going to have to send this to my own unsuspecting friends in order to do this. UGH! So I decided on the people who would judge me the least, my wife, my brother, and a couple of close friends. I immediately followed this up with my reason for sending it. In most cases, I got no reply and none of them forwarded it back to me (thank you!!). One dear friend called me a freak (I’m looking at you Jim). So apparently none of my closest friends and family are close friends. Good to know…..

I proceeded to tell my second cousin that this would not work, and that the general public has not been using the Internet since 1977, so this could not have been being passed around since then, to which she replied “Interesting….” I guess that is teenage girl for “You are so freaking old!”

So at this point I have followed all of the directions. I just need to sit back and let all of these wonderful things happen to me.

Day 1

I woke up with no surprises, much to my surprise (not!). My day was pretty normal. I got up. I took a shower. I got dressed. I went to work. I came home and helped with dinner. I ate dinner. I watched a little bit of Disney Channel with my kids. I went to bed. (yawn)

Day 2

Full disclosure: Sunday evening an old friend of mine texted me. I recently moved to the Bay Area and we hadn’t seen each other in a few years. He was preparing for a trip and wanted to visit before he left, so we planned (on Sunday afternoon prior to me receiving this) to have lunch today. So technically it happened, but I am on the fence if I should count it since it was premeditated. We did cross paths as we walked between buildings to lunch. And it was really good to see him and get caught up.

I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow, I could use a lot of money……

Day 3

9:00 am — Waiting with my arms open

9:03 am — Arms got tired, so now I’m just waiting

10:00 am — I start daydreaming about buying a lottery ticket today, but do I tempt fate?? decisions.

11:00 am — Still waiting

12:00 pm — Well, the day should just go on as normal, I still have into the evening so there is plenty of time.

5:00 pm — There’s a gas station that sells lottery tickets……nah…..It doesn’t say you will win the lottery

10:00 pm — I gave up and watched a movie

Day 4

Perfect has a broad definition, and is very unspecific. Most of my days are pretty perfect since I am still alive and I have my health and family. Nothing to report out of the ordinary other than my sister came to visit. Meh.

Day 5

This happens every day. Bah.

So, this happened.

Was it fun to participate in? Not really.
Did I get anything out of this? Not really.
Do I think anyone does? Not really.

IMO the fun runs out after you hit send to all of your friends. I also tend to think that no one really pays attention to their days after the forward it on either. I haven’t seen online where anyone has ever chronicled their experiences following participation either.

What does this really do? Just a little fun time with your friends? Not really. Lets take a look at the one I received:

The image itself is 59.4KB. Assuming everyone participated after the first one was sent, that will balloon to 297KB on the first send. And then those that participate in it will cause it to balloon to 1,485Kb (this is over 1MB now). If every one of those recipients sends it to another 5 people as it suggests, and each of them sends it to 5 more, and so on and so forth, you will quickly have a socially engineered Denial Of Service attack with the single purpose of taking up peoples bandwidth. Ever wonder why your Internet connection is so slow?

My final thoughts: If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Don’t forward this nonsense to your friends. Nothing good comes out of it. It hands out an idea that everything will be great this week, only to have all of our dreams and hopes dashed on the rocks of the reality that nothing is different about this week. And you are still stuck waiting for that Web site to load in the meantime because of the slow Internet connection you helped create.

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