The threatening-friend email was usually a pretty picture, or several pretty pictures, along with some Hallmark-ish text in a loopy script. There was often a lot of scrolling to get to the point, which was invariably some variation of the following:
I’m sending you this pretty picture of puppies/roses/a sunrise/a beach/other flowers/misty mountains/a forest in dappled light/kittens to brighten your day and let you know that I am your friend. Please forward it to (insert whatever number is greater than the number of friends you have) people and also back to me. If I don’t get this email back, don’t worry, I’ll get the message...
I’m not kidding. I forwarded the first one to my husband and asked him if he had ever received an email like it. He said he thought someone had sent him something similar once, but that that person had probably been severely corrected because it hadn’t happened a second time.
The email put me in a terrible position. Due to the stringent forwarding requirements, it was a near certainty that everyone in clerical had already received it. The fact that I got it meant people were already scraping the barrel (I was new, and knew almost no one yet). I couldn’t forward the email to anyone I knew from the private sector without getting a slew of responses telling me my computer had a virus and it was time to set it on fire.
Then I realized, if I forwarded the email to anyone, I would just get more like it. The thought of spending half an hour every morning deciding who to burden with my friendship was too much. I decided I couldn’t do it. I had to just accept that I was going to die friendless and woefully bereft of pretty pictures.