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Forward Ho!

In the beginning I thought, and so did you, that they were fun. Some were funny, some were profound and some were even a little motivating. “So life not is so bad after all…” you sometimes thought after you read one of them. “There is hope. We are all not alone and pitiful”. Or even “You can actually do it that way? In a train? Can I?”

Admit it. You thought it too.

But send me one more email forward and I swear I will hunt you down and destroy you. And your families. Maybe even your neighbours. I can’t stand them emails anymore. Not only do they get in the way of my more important emailing activities but most of them are so full of bull.

For instance check out this little gem I got yesterday.

“One day I decided to quit…I quit my job, my relationship, my Spirituality. I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God
. God, I said. Can you give me one good reason not to quit? His answer surprised me… “Look around”, he said, “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?…”

And so on it went till the story ended begging me to smile everyday, brush before going to bed or use unleaded or some bull like that. I was very pained.

I know. It shows.

Now no one does things like that in real life. In real life the story would go like this:

“One day I decided to quit. I quit my job but then had to hang around for a couple of months to serve out my notice period. I did not get my settlement in full and this dragged on for two weeks because of some issue with my gratuity. Then I quit my relationships. I told my wife that I was leaving her to go soul searching and confront the real truth about life and whether it was worth living. When she got my SMS she appeared less shocked than I would expect and replied back saying she was devastated and I should call the newspaperwallah if I wanted to talk to her and the kids. And she had taken the cheque book as well.

I then decided to quit my spirituality and lingered around the parish church figuring out how to do this. Then in the evening the parish priest came out, spoke to me and told me to leave or he would release the parish Dobermans upon me. So I ran to the woods to have one last talk with God. God, I said. Can you give me one good reason not to quit? His answer surprised me…

“Look behind you”, he said, “Do you see the men approaching you with assorted handheld weapons, sawn-off shotguns and wooden planks with nails?”

“Yes”, I told God with hope in my eyes.

“Those are your in-laws, and the Marwari who lend you money for the car. Run for it my son.”

Now that is how things would pan out in real life. No ‘fern and bamboo’ bullshit. Thank you very much. Fern and Bamboo. I can’t get over it.

The forward mentioned above was an example of the “God is around. So no need to worry bro. Smile!” drivel.

Then there is the latest breed of email forward. The one that tells you how to do wondrous things with your ATM Pin and your mobile phone. Heard the lat
est one? It goes like this:

If you should ever be forced by a robber to withdraw money from an ATM machine, you can notify the police by entering your Pin in reverse. For example if your pin number is 1234 then you would put in 4321. The ATM recognizes that your pin number is backwards from the ATM card you placed in the machine.

The machine will still give you the money, but unknown to the robber, the police will be immediately dispatched to help you. This info was recently broadcast on TV and it states that it is seldom used because people don’t know it exists. Please pass this along to everyone possible.”

This one has so many things wrong with it that it that you should beat the sender to death with ferns and bamboo.

Once again let us sit back and observe how things would pan out it real life:

“You are standing in an ATM wondering how much money to pay the newspaperwallah. He was at home last night and your wife told you that he had come asking for his money again and they were discussing the bill in detail in the bedroom. Suddenly a robber enters the ATM and, at gun point, demands you withdraw all your money and give it to him. You quiver in your shoes, but in reality you are laughing loudly in your head. You have already read that email about the PIN number thing. You slip your card into the machine your hands shivering; all play acting of course, and punch in your ATM PIN in reverse. The robber looks over your shoulder. “It is 1331” you con
fess, confident that the cops should be around shortly. You withdraw your cash and hand it over to him. No sign of the cops yet.

He turns to leave. You stop him and insist he count the amount before he goes. He looks at you weirdly and agrees. It takes him three minutes. No sign of the khakhis yet. The robber is beginning to get impatient. A line is forming outside the door. You are still nonchalant. Must be traffic you tell yourself. They should be here any time now. The robber turns to leave. You stop him. If he goes now your plan is finished. “Thank you for letting me go without asking me to withdraw off my credit card sir…” you say slyly. He stops in his tracks and asks you to do so immediately. With a shudder, but actually brimming with quiet confidence, you slip in the card and punch another PIN in reverse. “This time it is 3003 sir.” you say with a false whimper. The robber merrily pockets the money.

The line outside is getting restless. This time the robber must leave. You resist him. Even offer to withdraw some money off your overdraft account. Finally, with some reluctance he agrees. The PIN is 6556 and you enter in reverse, suppressing a chuckle.

Finally when he gets pained with your insistence he thumps you in the head with a rolled up bunch of newspapers and runs away. The crowd outside no longer cares.

You sit outside waiting for the police till dinner time and then walk back home. Perhaps you should quit everything you begin to think. Your job, your relation
ship and your spirituality…”

Do me a favour. Skip my name next time you must forward something. Especially anything with fern, bamboo or any other woody grass. And tell everyone I told you this.

If you tell ten of your friends in the next three days you can keep your family and neighbours. Between 7 and 10 and great misfortune (me) will fall upon the Parsi lady (literally) who lives next door. Anything less than 7 and I suggest you pack your bags right now.

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