This column owes a lot to cyberjunkies – people who spend lots of time on the Internet. I am all for cyberjunkies. But one also gets…
CYBERCLOWNS: they send you jokes usually about sex, Zuma, Obama, Malema, lawyers and English cricketers.
Hello. My name is Billy. I am a very sick little boy. My mother is typing this for me. She is crying. Don’t cry Mommy! Mommy is always sad, but she says it’s not my fault. I asked her if it was God’s fault, but she didn’t answer and only started crying harder. The reason she is so sad is because I was born without a body. It doesn’t hurt, except when I breathe. The doctors gave me an artificial body – a mealie bag filled with leaves. It was the best they could do because we are so poor. I would like to have a body transplant, but we need more money. Mommy doesn’t work. Nobody hires crying people. When she comes home she hugs me even though she’s allergic to sacking and it makes her sneeze all over the walls. Please forward this message to everyone you know.
For every message, Bill Gates will get children all over the world to say a prayer and then send each one plus 25c to NASA and the astronauts will take up the prayers for me into space so that the angels can hear them better. Then they’ll ask the Pope to get all the churches to send all their money to the doctors who will help me get better.
I wish I had a kitty. I wish I could hold a kitty that wouldn’t try to bury its mess in the leaves of my mealie bag body. I wish that very much.
Please help me. I don’t want my leaves to rot before I turn 10.
If you don’t forward this Mommy says you’re a mean and heartless bastard who doesn’t care about a poor little boy with only a head and she hopes you stew in the raw pit of your own guilt-ridden stomach and that you die a long, slow, horrible death and then burn forever in hell.
God bless – Billy “Smiles” Evans.
CYBEREVANGELISTS. They send you encouraging words (“Dwell upon the doughnut and not upon the hole”) and beg you to send it on to all in your address book and even back to the sender.
CYBERSCREAMERS. Cyberscreamers put out messages reading RED ALERT!!!! NEW VIRUS!! YOU MUST READ THIS!!! They warn of a virus that will corrupt your drives; wipe all disks within 100 metres; alter your TV settings, defrost your refrigerator and mess up your sock drawer. They revel in bad news. In red they usually add: SEND THIS TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS!!!!!
CYBERDORKS. They pass on stories headed THIS IS NOT A HOAX. They tell of kidney theft gangs, of Bill Gates giving away $1000 to anybody who responds to some silly message, and so on.
CYBERINTELLECTUALS. They send you IQ tests that make you feel like something that needs watering twice a week.
CYBERCELEBS. These are deluded would-be celebrities (“Hi there, dudes!”) who send out long chatty e-mails about themselves plus juvenile bits and pieces they’ve found on the web – they apologise when they miss a day or two believing that vast numbers of fans have been waiting for their missives with bated breath.
Hey! They sound just like newspaper columnists.
James Clark is a columnist. This article first appeared on The Star, 18 January 2010. It is re-published here with permission from the author.