Sitting up at 1am last night writing a thousand words on Eastern Electricity's contribution to the night-life of Shotley Gate, my evening was brightened up by an e-mail from a young friend. She only e-mails me half a dozen times a year (but I can't complain - I never e-mail her), and she uses these very special moments exclusively to forward on those lovely chain letter e-mails which promise good fortune beyond your wildest dreams if you send it to 47 people in 20 seconds, and a life of misery and plague if you don't.
So I have the indisputable honour of lying dormant in this friend's address book all year round, ready to spring into life the moment she needs an extra recipient to ensure that her life continues in the same rich vein of good fortune that she's enjoyed since the day she got a Hotmail account.
Personally I've never forwarded on one of these e-mails, which is why my life has been such a vale of tears for the past decade. But this latest offering is particularly good. Named 'Lotus Totus' (which is like a Vauxhall Zafira, only sportier), it offers 21 pointers for a better life, such as "Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze" and "Spend some time alone" (yeah, I've tried that one, thanks), along with the following friendly advice:
"Do not keep this message. The Lotus Totus must leave your hands in 6 MINUTES. Otherwise you will get a very unpleasant surprise. This is true, even if you are not superstitious, agnostic, or otherwise faith impaired."
So it's clearly curtains for me. 'Not superstitious'... 'agnostic'... 'faith impaired'... yup, they've got me down to a tee. Oh my god. I mean oh my goodness. And it's obviously true, because... well, it says "This is true". What more proof do you need?
To compound the issue, I'm quite a slow reader, so by the time I'd read the 21 pieces of sound advice and the dire warnings of eternal damnation, my six minutes were up. So it looks like I can expect a safe to drop on my head at any moment.
Worse still is that a quick look at the address line of the e-mail showed that my young friend had sent it to 14 people (13 of whom were thrilled to get it, I'm sure). Unfortunately, the Lotus Pocus (whatever) states in no uncertain terms that if you forward it to FIFTEEN lucky individuals "Your life will improve drastically and everything you ever dreamed of will begin to take shape".
D'oh! What a missed opportunity. I bet she's kicking herself now. You see, this is why I keep in touch with people I can't stand - you never know when you might need that extra e-mail address to fulfill your dreams.
Not that I need to worry. This morning I've been informed by a nameless individual who reads The Sun, that Mystic Meg is confidently declaring that my name "will appear on a winners list today". So that's just me and the other 5 million Leos in the country. It must be a hell of a long list.
But I'm standing by for word from the SCDA Play on Words judges nonetheless.