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The 5 Lamest Forwarded Emails (And Why Your Mom Loves Them)

Since the dawn of time, man has sought ever-easier means of communicating. Smoke signals gave way to the Pony Express. Then came telegrams, then singing telegrams, and eventually the naked ones we all know and love today.

But we now find ourselves in a digital era, one where it's possible to send messages around the globe in seconds. It's easier than it's ever been in recorded history to communicate with one another, and while that's great and all, it also means we're sending each other things we probably wouldn't have bothered with back when it took a guy on horseback over a month to deliver them.

This is double true for people who don't really understand the internet. You know - people like moms. This week on Ross Wolinsky Hates The Internet, I bring you the 5 lamest forwarded emails... and why your mom can't resist them.

Email #5: "FW: Forward This To Everyone You Know And Your Wishes Will Come True!"

Dating back at least to the 1930s (and probably even further), the Good Luck chain letter promises prosperity to anyone who forwards it on. They are generally accompanied by anecdotes that are supposed to "prove" that forwarding the email brings good fortune: the homeless man wins the lottery, the blind woman regains her sight, and the two of them meet and fall in love and have homeless, blind babies and live happily ever after... and all because they forwarded this email to 10 of their friends!

These emails also usually contain warnings of what might happen if you DON'T forward it on. "A woman in Albuquerque deleted this without forwarding it, and a few minutes later... SHE GOT HIT BY A BUS!!!" they say, right before encouraging you to scroll down past a bunch of crap that looks like this:

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Make a wish!

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Did you make a wish yet?

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Are you annoyed yet?

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You should be annoyed by now!

This is really obnoxious!

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POOF!

Your wish is granted!

What did you wish for? I don't know about you guys, but I wished for a new Gmail feature that replaces garbage like this in my inbox with funny pictures of animals.

Yup - just like that.

Why Moms Can't Resist It

Because moms are superstitious. Sure, chances are nothing will happen if she doesn't forward the email to 10 people, but... WHAT IF? Why risk it?

Plus, what if bad things happen to you because she didn't send it?! Just think of how bad she would feel then! Sure, it's annoying to get emails like these, but remember: She's only sending them because she loves you.

Oh - and because she is completely technologically clueless.

Email #4: "FW: Funniest Pictures EVER (LOL)!!!"

This classic twist on the standard "FW: Funny Joke Inside!!!" email (more about that later) takes things to the next level: Instead of text-based jokes written with the average 10-year-old in mind, the "Funny Pictures" email consists of a mixed bag of tired jpgs that anyone who has had an internet connection in the past decade has already seen a dozen times. For example, one might receive the following picture:

With the subject: "Fw: Think YOU Have It Bad At Work?"

Or alternatively, you might receive the following:

With the subject: "Fw: This Kid's Got ATTITUDE LOL!!!" It could just as easily be any other funny picture that you've seen a dozen times already, but the probability that a mom will forward it to you increases dramatically depending on the image's specific characteristics. Here's a handy chart:

Why Moms Can't Resist It

Because your mom hasn't spent the vast majority of her life looking at stupid shit on the internet. Chances are your mom was born in the vast primordial soup that was the pre-internet era, and as such, her knowledge of Web culture probably begins and ends with the Dancing Baby (if even that). She hasn't seen every video of people being hit in the nuts on YouTube, she's never heard of Tay Zonday, and she doesn't know that she's supposed to find ninjas, pirates, and Chuck Norris inherently funny.

Cut her some slack, though: Unlike you, the Millennial twerp with your vlogging and social networking and whatever else you nerds are doing these days, your mom squandered her youth raising you.

Email #3: "FW: WARNING: AVOID ALL PRODUCTS (RECENT STUDIES SHOW THEY CAN KILL YOU!!!)"

Did you know there's a new tasteless, odorless date rape drug that leaves you STERILE FOREVER? What about the bug larvae that can grow inside your body and then EAT THEIR WAY OUT OF YOUR NIPPLES!? That would be bad enough on its own, but to make matters worse, did you hear that every cleaning product in your kitchen can (and will) kill your pets, give you cancer, and burn your house down? Thank God your dear old mother sent you all those helpful emails to warn you - now do your loved ones a favor and pass it on to everyone you know. Who knows - you might save a life!

Why Moms Can't Resist It

When you were a little kid and had no idea what was going on, your mother was old enough to recognize just how stupid the things coming out of your mouth were. "Whazzat?" you asked her, pointing. "A car," she replied. "Whazzat?" you asked again, pointing in the other direction. "That's another car," she replied patiently, leaving out the "you moron. What's wrong with you?"

As far as your mom is concerned, you're still that drooling doofus who doesn't know what a car is. Why would she think you're capable of surviving on your own? At the same time, though, she thinks she can save you from a horrific, house-burning-down-while-bugs-climb-out-of-your-nipples death by forwarding you hoax emails, so I guess you win anyway.

Even if you don't know what a car is, you idiot.


This is what they look like.

Email #2: "FW: For Every Person You Forward This To, A Penny Is Donated To Some Sort Of Child-Related Cause!"

Whether it's a rare form of cancer, a natural disaster, or just a good ol' fashioned baby-snatching, there are always going to be children out there who need your help. And since email is such a cheap way to reach millions of people worldwide, using it to get your message out seems like a perfectly effective solution, right? You know - because if the kid gets even just one penny for each person that receives the email, and if millions of people end up getting the email, then that adds up to, like, millions of pennies, right?

It sounds like a pretty good deal, but if it ACTUALLY raised a penny for charity every time someone got these obnoxious emails, then wouldn't all of the world's problems already be solved by now? Shouldn't cancer be cured, natural disasters seem hopelessly old-fashioned, and every child on Earth be guaranteed long, happy lives by now thanks to the transformative power of chain letters? If that were the case, the only problem we should be dealing with right now is what to do with all these happy, healthy children, so unless I start seeing emails offering to donate money to help solve the "Happy Children Problem," I'm going to have to conclude that these emails are... gasp...... FAKE.

Why Moms Can't Resist

Because what mom could possibly resist a story, fake or otherwise, about someone else's child in need? Never underestimate the power of maternal instinct - it can make hideous children seem "beautiful," a pile of diarrhea in a diaper seem worth talking about with your friends, and, apparently, a totally fabricated story about a kid with cancer in your inbox seem like something you should forward to everyone you know.


Maternal instinct makes you not want to throw this thing down the stairs.

On an unrelated (and somewhat amazing) note, based on the Google Image results, there doesn't seem to be a kinky, fetishy porno called "Maternal Instinct." Not yet, anyway. (Don't worry - I'm on it.)

Email #1: "FW: Funniest Jokes EVER Inside (LOL)!!!"

What happened to the priest, the rabbi, and the imam when they got to the pearly gates?1 What did George Bush say when he walked into a bar?2 Why did the blonde cross the road?3 I don't know, but you can safely assume that the answers are probably hilarious.

With its roots firmly planted in the tradition of Truly Tasteless Jokes, waterboarding, and Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, the "Fw: Funny Joke" email has been around as long as email itself. Consisting of either one longer joke or a series of shorter ones - and generally prefaced by a hyperbolic subject line promising side-splitting laughter inside - the "Fw: Funny Joke" email raises several intriguing questions: Namely, has anyone under the age of 60 actually read one of these, and if so, did they actually find it funny?

The answer to both of these questions, sadly enough, is a big, emphatic "probably." Like Big Mouth Billy Bass, Ugg boots, and amputee porn, forwarded joke emails exist because there is clearly a market for them. Someone out there is reading and enjoying "Fw: Funny Joke Inside" emails, which is baffling and all, but at least it helps explain how Meet the Spartans earned almost $40 million.

1 Nothing - there's no such thing as heaven.2 "One beer, please."3 To get an abortion.

Why Moms Can't Resist It

While it's true that the average mom genuinely wants to share funny jokes with her children, the sad truth is that she wants something else even more: a call every once in a while. And while the subject line might say "Thought you might get a kick out of this, sweetie!", what it actually means is, "I gave birth to you. Why don't you love me anymore?"

Which reminds me... I should go call my mom.

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Ross Wolinsky

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