NEW CREDIT CARD SCAM AND COMPUTER VIRUS ALERT!

That loud sound you’re hearing is my head banging against my computer screen. Yesterday–I went to open my mailbox and I had over fifty emails forwarded from random places and sources. I don’t know half these people let alone how or why I am on every single African third world country’s email list. Apparently every General or military attach wants to leave me an inheritance between 25 to 30 million dollars. But more intrusive than Nigerian General Zinzawe’s oldest son are some of my own friends. We all know the type. They’re the ones who think that their forwarded emails are going to save your life–make you rich–prepare you for a tsunami–earthquake or flu epidemic–or help some retarded child in West Virginia achieve his dream of swimming with dolphins before he dies.

These are friends we enjoy talking to. Hanging out with or talking to on the phone. Going to movies with or eating dinner. But in the electronic mail realm–they become an annoyance so frustrating that they make us damn the day we opened an email account.

You open your emails and are excited when you see their email address. This is followed by that sinking feeling when you see the two letters "FW" followed by that forsaken colon.

FW: How to Prevent Heart Attacks

FW: Your Identity Can BE STOLEN! URGENT!!

FW: THIS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!!!

FW: Read this before you go to Vegas…

I don’t care about how some person in Las Vegas had his kidney stolen by a hooker he met at the hotel lounge. First of all–it serves him right for hanging out with a hooker at a hotel lounge in Vegas. Second of all–I know dozens of people who would readily sell their own kidney just to make up for the financially crippling ass kicking they received from the short Asian Blackjack dealer at the New York New York Hotel & Casino!

I don’t want another email telling me how Microsoft is going to give me a dollar for each person I forward the email to. I don’t care if Bill Gates is going to show up to my front door step with a giant check. Nike isn’t going to send me free shoes. You’re not going to receive a free iPod and GM is not giving away free cars or trucks to people who forward emails to suckers like you.

I try to live a good life and be a good person. I believe in God but if God is going to damn me to eternity because I didn’t forward some stupid poem written by a five year old kid in Arkansas about her father serving in Iraq–then he’s no God of mine. If you actually believe that someone is in a race to collect the e-signatures of 300 people who believe in God before someone else collects 300 e-signatures from those who don’t and this is going to somehow influence Congress–then you’re dumber than a parent who lets their kid go to Michael Jackson’s ranch for a birthday party.

I feel sorry for the little child who actually may have brain cancer or whatever disease but America On Line or Time Warner or anyone else is not going to reduce the hospital bill by 32 cents or 2 dollars for every email that I forward to my friends.

I don’t believe that my luck is determined by how many people I forward crap to. I don’t think that the people I love will love me less or that something bad will happen in the next three–five–ten–or twelve hours–days–or years if I don’t forward insipid and poorly written love poems about babies–angels–cancer victims–or walking on beaches with ghosts of dead relatives to my email list of personal friends.

The simplicity and ease of sending emails has caused an outbreak of unimportant and silly dialogue over the internet and pervades our everyday lives. Someone receives a new message about a computer virus–or an email about how low President Bush or Clinton’s IQ is and all of a sudden they think of themselves as some type of maven of information.

I don’t need stock advice–beauty tips–or allegedly true stories of people contracting stomach–mouth–or brain infections by eating a taco from Taco Bell or other fast food restauran’s. This is how rumors start. And the sad part is that all of this hearsay is tailor made for our community. Some of the less educated people in our community thrive on this gossip. "Did you hear about the prostitutes at the pastry shop?"Did you hear about the horse that trampled the wedding guests at the Banquet Hall?"Did you hear that Magic Johnson is traveling to Armenia to be treated for AIDS?"Did you hear I’m a complete idiot who will believe anything anyone tells me?"

Doesn’t ANYONE read the newspaper anymore? Is nobody able to discern the difference between myth and reality? Has everyone just lost their minds? For every one "Forward" we take ten steps back as rational–educated people.

Exercise some restraint. Don’t denigrate yourself by dredging the bottom of the misinformation barrel. Just stop. Don’t even think about it. For the love of all that’s good on this earth and if you respect me as a friend–please don’t do it. Don’t click "send" and don’t forward me any more emails unless it’s actual news and/or related in some way–shape–fashion or form to Armenian community and its actual activities. That means I want news of interest and not some silly list of "You know you’re ‘beirutsi’ or ‘barsgahye’ if." jokes.

Remember that you and only you can prevent this from spreading any further. We all have the power to fight against the misinformed masses and elevate dialogue and discourse. It starts with a simple act of telling our friends that if they ever email us a stupid Forwarded Email again–they will have seven years of bad luck followed by their hair falling out–their liver being auctioned off on EBay and their mother’s BMW being repossessed.

Now forward this article to twenty five friends before the third Thursday of next month or I will come to your house at 7 AM with a rolled up copy of the Asbarez Newspaper and whack you across your "klookh."

Skeptik Sinikian is standing across the street with a newspaper in his hand just waiting for you to forward his article to your friends. You can tell him what a jerk he is by emailing him at SkeptikSinikian@aol.com or posting a comment on his blog at www.sinikian.blogspot.com.

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