But the ones that have been driving me crazy are those idiotic chain e-mails warning me about everything from killer termites being shipped from Katrina-ravaged New Orleans to the godless one-dollar coin.
What bothers me the most about these viral meteors of mis-information is not the time I have to waste clicking through them or the space they take up on my blackberry screen. What really burns me is the fact that most of them are B.S. or hurtful, and all of them can be debunked if the sender would just take 30 seconds to Google the subject line before shoving them down every inbox on their address book.
Here's a small sample from my inbox:
SUBJECT: It has begun... REFUSE NEW COINS
Bogus Message: This e-mail urges patriotic god loving Americans to refuse to take the new one dollar coins because the phrase "In God We Trust" has been left off.
Facts: All U.S. Coins and currency that are produced for circulation are mandated by Congress to carry the "In God we Trust" slogan, including the one dollar coins.
The 2007 and 2008 series had the slogan, along with the year and E Pluribus Unum etched along the side of the coin. The 2009 version has the slogan on the face of the coin.
SUBJECT: Arrogant Americans, Mr. President?
Bogus Message: This e-mail calls President Barack Obama "naive and arrogant" for a speech he gave in France last month. The e-mail correctly quotes the president as saying:
"In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive."
Facts: What the e-mail fails to include is the president's entire quote. Mr. Obama followed the above statement by emphatically chastising Europeans for being anti-American:
"But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual, but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what is bad. On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common."
I'll let conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly defend the President's remarks.
"That was the president's smartest move Friday. He complimented the Europeans, making them feel good, while at the same time gently scolding them for being foolishly anti-American. A very good sequence for Mr. Obama."
SUBJECT: South American Beef at McDonald's
Bogus Message: This e-mail urges a boycott of McDonald's because the hamburger chain is buying beef from foreign countries rather than farmers in the United States. The e-mail purports to be sent from Professor David Forrest from Texas A&M University and based on an original e-mail from the Texas cattle Feeders Association.
Facts: None of this is true. The Cattle Feeders Association never sent an e-mail and even has a link on the homepage of the website disclaiming the e-mail.
I called Dr. Forrest at Texas A&M, and he laughed at me. "No," he said, "I never wrote that e-mail."
SUBJECT: Please Read...It Was On Good Morning America
Bogus Message: AOL and Microsoft will pay you $245 for everyone you forward the e-mail to as part of "beta test."
Facts: Total crap. Really stupid people have been hitting the forward button on this one for more than 10 years. It took less than 30 seconds on Google to find out it is a complete lie.
I've got dozens more, and I bet you do, too. Feel free to share your favorites. But don't you dare e-mail them to me.
(Copyright 2009 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)