This is a book exchange. That's right, a book exchange! Send one book to the child listed below. Then send a copy of this letter to six friends. This isn't a chain letter. Just a letter for fun!
If you can't do it in one week, please notify me, as it is unfair to the children who are participating and are waiting for their own books. . . . Seldom does anyone drop out because, as you know, children love to receive mail as well as
Please don't spoil the fun by stopping the flow of books for the children. Please join us, but if you can't please let me know as soon as possible
This form letter was placed, unsolicited, in my son's preschool mailbox just shy of one week ago. Although I know who was above me on the chain (and I bear no animosity there for what else can she do?) as of tomorrow it will be one week since we received it, and I will occupy heinous position of one who is unfair to the children.
What to do? What to do?
Let me confess that I hate shit like this. Not because I enjoy depriving books for the children or a bit of community-minded parenting. No. I hate these things because they keep me awake at night with a spectrum of emotions and psychotic thought-processes:
"This isn't a chain letter.."
Oh yes? Define "chain letter" then. Though I am not promised a slew of unpleasant things to befall me, what can be more unpleasant than being The One to break the chain, and so disappoint an infinite number of The Children....????
"Send a copy of this letter to six friends.."
This is the part that causes most angst. I can easily buy a book, send it to a kid, and be done with it. But what six innocents can I draw into this madness? What six friends with kids do we have that will not be thinking "thanks a fucking BUNCH, Joy" as I send this on to them with quirky post-its that say "Ha ha! Don"t you hate me now? Ha ha! (look, I'm really really sorry, ok. But it's for the children...And I am afraid for my life)"
No. This may not be "a chain letter" but I feel like that lady in The Ring who has to send on the video to another unwitting individual in order save herself and her child from rank evil.
"If you can't do it in one week, please notify me, as it is unfair to the children who have participated and are waiting for their own books to arrive..."
OK! I get it already! Do this or DIE Bitch! But what really chills the blood is that I have no clue as to the origin of "me" here. It's not really the person whose kid is next on the list. I know that. She is merely passing on the message and hastily relinquishing her responsibility over to Me, potentially the next "Me" of this message. She is doing on what she must do, and so I do not blame her. Who is Me???
Interestingly, there are no accompanying instructions that say "in case some asshole calls you and drops out, then..."
What would I do if one of my people told me s/he can't do it? Pass it down the chain and hope that public humilation works as a preventative measure? I don't think so.
This tells me that the request to "let me know" is merely a way to keep us recipients in line. A disciplinary tactic that says "don't you slink off and just ignore this, b'yatch. You need to face the music if you decide to break the chain..." An empty threat that works upon our base fear that other parents might judge us...
"Please don't spoil the fun..." Right. I'm having a fucking ball.
So. Can I throw off this mantle? Break the chain and so break the cycle of pain?
Hells No. I am way too much of a coward for that. So if you're reading this, have a kid or two, and you know me and my boy, then you can expect a nice little envelope of hell in your mail in the next day of so. Hopefully to be followed by a shitload of books for your little one, unless some malignant soul breaks the chain, that is....
(p.s. if you are the twisted parent of a toddler/preschooler/kindergartner and would actually like to participate in this chain, then let me now via email--gingajoy_at_gmail.com I'd be happy to suck you into this seventh circle...)