I know it’s probably an odd thing to be annoyed by, but I’ve recently taken umbrage at the number of emails I get where people have clearly went onto part of the lolcats website, clicked save as on a few images, and then emailed them out to all their friends with some pithy comment added to each one.

Sure the pictures are invariably funny, and I do appreciate the fine works done by the contributors to icanhascheezburger.com, failblog and all their friends, but I don’t need some sad-sack emailing me reruns of pictures I saw weeks, months or even years ago. You didn’t make this, you have no claim on this, I can even see the site’s URL at the bottom. I have the constant urge to reply to their emails with, “YOU’VE BROKEN THE INTERNET!”, but I know all that will happen is I’ll get a confused phone call from IT asking me if my internet is broken.

Invariably by the time it gets to me it’s been forwarded so much the subject line looks like someone trying to write down the lyrics to one of Scatman John’s early hits.  “FW: RE: FW: FW: ad infinitum”. The references in the pithy comments are lost to me because they are about people, places and things that I know nothing about.  Worse still the people who resend and forward the mail rarely take the time to remove their automatic signatures from the thing leaving a huge ugly mess of warnings about the legality of the email, virus scanning and whither or not the sender’s company endorses the contents that continues to grow in size until it exceeds War and Peace in word count.

That’s bad enough of course, but then there’s the indentation and “>” arrows  applied to all those earlier emails by the sender’s mail client.

> so you get
>> pages and pages
>>> and page and pages
>>>> and even more pages and pages
>>>>> of text increasingly squashed to the side
>>>>>> of the screen where it
>>>>>>> rapidly becomes annoyingly unreadable

On top of this they usually save the images in the largest possible format so that as soon as the damn thing arrives I start getting automatic pop ups from the server complaining about the size of my inbox.

The worse, absolute god damn, thing about the whole funny email things is how much it resembles the common cold. I’ve actually watched as funny emails spread like a virus around the huge open plan office I work in. It usually arrives up the back, with the two middle aged ladies that guard the printer supplies like ogres, and from then it spreads to their selected few. It’s really quite elegant how it distributes itself from a single point outwards like a supernatural shock-wave of cute kitties and folk falling over. Fine, you might think, eventually everyone gets the email and you have a laugh and it goes in the bin. Yeah, that’s what you might think, but really what happens is somebody is out the day it’s sent, or they’re on holiday, or in meetings, and they don’t get to see the email till later. Then they forward it, and off it goes again like an aftershock flying around the place. Even if everyone’s in, and this doesn’t happen right away, it’s almost guaranteed that in a month or so someone will either receive the email again from outside, or they’ll find it in their email archive and forward it to their pals. Either way the vicious, endless cycle will begin anew sooner or later.

Please, by all means, continue to send me funny stuff, interesting stuff and even the odd lolcat, but please, for the sake ofthe children, stop trying to do the lolcat site’s job for them.

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