Guess I'm just in a bitching mood today.
If you receive an email that you think is so funny, or touching, or thought-provoking that you want to forward it on to others, please please PLEASE for the love of Bob, do a few things first:
1) Think about who you're forwarding to. Are they a good Christian like you believe yourself to be? Are you even sure of their religious preferences? Could they be Buddhist or Muslim or *gasp* Pagan? Do they agree with the opinions about race, homosexuality, immigration, national language, religion or parenting reflected in this email? Might they be insulted if they're not in agreement with you about how great this email is? Consider how your one-click attempt to save their soul or give them a good laugh might in fact cause them not to speak to you again. If you have hundreds of people on your email list, chances are most of them aren't your real friends anyway. Otherwise, it only takes a few more seconds to add people individually to your email forward instead of just clicking the "send to all" button.
2) Think about the age-appropriateness of the email. Some people have children in their homes, even if you don't. While your friend might enjoy a picture of a drunk guy with his penis hanging out of his shorts, they might not appreciate their kids seeing it. Even an email with graphic text can be a problem for those parents with reading children. Take the time to label your message "Adult" in the subject line, preferably right after the "FWD" part, in case it's a particularly long subject title.
3) Never spam your friends. If you're forwarding an email with coupons or details of an upcoming sale, consider whether the people you're forwarding it to will have any use for this information. If they are really your friends, then you know if they can or cannot afford a shopping spree at Bed, Bath and Beyond, even with a 10% discount. They don't care about gardening sales when they live in an apartment. They're not interested in a sale at Baby Gap when their kids are all over the age of 10. If they're going to get one look at your email forward, make a disgusted noise and click the "delete" button, you're no better than the senders filling their Junk Folder with crap.
4) Remember this because it's probably the most important: Truthorfiction and Snopes are your friends. Use them. Every time. If you forward an email to 10 people about carcinogens in canned lima beans that turns out to be false, not only have you misinformed 10 people and contributed to a rumor that could possibly have seriously ill effects on the lima bean industry, but you've convinced the friends that took five seconds to look it up on a rumor website that you are an idiot. Think of the lima bean farmers! Think of your reputation as a reasonably intelligent person for crying out loud.
I just received this hateful piece of crap in my email box today. Not only did Andy Rooney not say any of this stuff, most of it doesn't go along with my personal beliefs at all. I've had enough conversations with the sender that this should have been obvious. I was shocked not only that the "friend" that sent it would think it was so profound and funny, but that they would think I would agree. I had thought better of them. I replied and told them to check a rumor site next time, and that I didn't think their email was at all amusing. Maybe next time they'll think before they click "send to all."