Sometimes when I do open one of these forwarded e-mails I’m glad I did. Some are funny, and after all, everyone needs a good laugh in January. A lot of them, though, are the same ones that have

been circulating for the past five years. They just keep getting recycled over and over again.

Today I received an e-mail titled, “Spread the Stuped.”

I laughed for quite awhile over that one. The entire e-mail was about why nouns we use every day are referred to in a particular way, while nobody forwarding it on had the intelligence to notice that the word "stupid" was misspelled.

You can tell it’s January because each time I go online to check my e-mail, it’s clogged with “stuped” things such as this. I guess everyone is thoroughly bored this time of year and there’s not much else for them to do other than sit at the computer forwarding crap to everyone in their address book.

Sometimes when I do open one of these e-mails I’m glad I did. Some are funny, and after all, everyone needs a good laugh in January. A lot of them, though, are the same ones that have
been circulating for the past five years. They just keep getting recycled over and over again.

I especially hate e-mails that contain veiled threats stating that you will have bad luck unless you forward this on to 10 people in the next 10 minutes; or the ones that promise you that if you forward this to 9 people in 9 minutes, something wonderful will happen to you in the next 9 minutes.

Then there’s the religious e-mails that have a really nice message in them to begin with, about friendship and loving one another. These are usually very inspirational.

Just when you feel that the sender of this e-mail must really think you’re special to send such a message, you read the last line, telling you that if you don’t forward it to everyone in your address book, you are evidently ashamed to proclaim to the world that you are a Christian.

These are the e-mails I delete immediately. I have no intention of pushing my beliefs off on anyone or forwarding a huge guilt trip on to someone else. Somehow I don’t think that when I’m standing at the pearly gates waiting to see whether my elevator is going up or down that God is going to go through my list of sent and deleted religious messages. Believe me, he’ll be way too busy going over my other list of sins to notice a few e-mails. 

I have to admit that the “Spread the Stuped” e-mail did contain some memorable truisms.

For instance, one of them states: "Only in America do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to pick up prescriptions while healthy people can buy a candy bar or pack of cigarettes up front."

Another one that hits home: "Only in America do people order double cheeseburgers, super-sized fries and then top the whole thing off with a diet coke."

Come on, admit it. You’re guilty as charged.

Just one more: "Why is the time of day when traffic is at its slowest called 'rush hour?'"

Think about it.

The same friend that sent me the “stupid” e-mail sent another really good one several days earlier. It makes me wonder who is supplying her with all this good stuff, and on state time at that. This is the very same friend that brags she gets her hair cut on state time because it grows on state time. She does make a good point, and she isn’t even blonde.

Anyway, this e-mail, called “Questions that Haunt Me,” asks a question that has kind of haunted me at times: "Once you’re in heaven, are you stuck for eternity wearing the same clothes you were buried in?"

Here’s some more food for thought: "Why do doctors leave the room while you are getting undressed for an exam, when they’re going to see you naked in a few minutes anyway?"

And while we’re on the subject of doctors: "Why is it that what doctors do for a living is called 'a practice?'"

That one should definitely make us all stop and think.

If it hadn’t been January and I hadn’t really been desperate for something to do, I probably wouldn’t have read these e-mails. Just look at the gems of wisdom I would have missed.

To my e-mail buddies out there in cyber space: Keep those e-mails coming, but how about limiting them to one at a time instead of 15 at a time. I’d prefer “quality” rather than “quantity” when you’re thinking of sending me something.

Barbara Murphy writes for the Mineral Daily News-Tribune in Keyser, W.Va.