Chain letters are a common form of written superstition that offer great rewards (or great misery) to the reader, all depending on whether or not he or she is willing to break the chain. If the reader is willing to do this, then he has the reward of knowing that he possesses above-average intelligence. If he is not, then he has the misery of realizing that he’s that annoying guy that everyone hates who sends out chain letters. They have been encountered by millions of people in a countless variety of forms over the years, though usually in Middle School, and tend to go something like this:
WARNING! This letter is MAGIC and you NEED to SEND five COPIES to people you KNOW in the next WEEK! If you DON’T, something HORRIBLE will happen to YOU and your LOVED ONES! A fishmonger from Spokane DIDN’T pass the letter along and he DIED when a FISH came back and ATE HIM! A goat herder from Wyoming DID send the letter and he’s now PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES! This is TRUE! The overuse of CAPITAL LETTERS proves it!!!
With the advent of the internet, chain letters have taken on a whole new annoying dimension. While it’s frustrating and time-consuming to copy out a letter five times by hand, it’s pretty easy to just forward the email on to hundreds of unsuspecting people. This has inadvertently caused the world wide web to become a sort of mystical channeling device, and if the internet were to one day fail, all of that bad mojo would be instantly released and great horrors would undoubtedly ensue (most likely, a significant increase in productivity and face-to-face social interaction.)
On a side note, if you do not purchase five copies of How to be a Villain, your goldfish will die.