Husker du Good Times-viruset? Det vil si, det var ikke et virus, det var en «hoax» – en falsk advarsel om et virus. Advarselen var utformet i en innstendig og seriøs tone, og mottakeren fikk inntrykk av at dette var svært alvorlig. Når vedkommende deretter på oppfordring sendte mailen videre til sine 5.000 nærmeste venner, ble dette et ekstremt effektivt kjedebrev.
Den originale Good Times-mailen var formulert slik:
Here is some important information. Beware of a file called Goodtimes. Happy Chanukah everyone, and be careful out there. There is a virus on America Online being sent by E-Mail. If you get anything called «Good Times», DON’T read it or download it. It is a virus that will erase your hard drive. Forward this to all your friends. It may help them a lot.
Motivet for å lage kjedebrev har jeg aldri sett, det være seg de gamle gode som kom med postmannen eller de moderne epost-baserte brevene.
En viss underholdningsverdi har det vel dog. Som kreativitetseksplosjonen hos Patrick J Rothfuss i 1996, som gjorde at han lagde en parodi på Good Times-mailen som var slik:
Goodtimes will re-write your hard drive. Not only that, but it will scramble any disks that are even close to your computer. It will recalibrate your refrigerator’s coolness setting so all your ice cream goes melty. It will demagnetize the strips on all your credit cards, screw up the tracking on your television and use subspace field harmonics to scratch any CD’s you try to play.
It will give your ex-girlfriend your new phone number. It will mix Kool-aid into your fishtank. It will drink all your beer and leave its socks out on the coffee table when there’s company coming over. It will put a dead kitten in the back pocket of your good suit pants and hide your car keys when you are late for work.
Goodtimes will make you fall in love with a penguin. It will give you nightmares about circus midgets. It will pour sugar in your gas tank and shave off both your eyebrows while dating your girlfriend behind your back and billing the dinner and hotel room to your Discover card.
It will seduce your grandmother. It does not matter if she is dead, such is the power of Goodtimes, it reaches out beyond the grave to sully those things we hold most dear.
It moves your car randomly around parking lots so you can’t find it. It will kick your dog. It will leave libidinous messages on your boss’s voice mail in your voice! It is insidious and subtle. It is dangerous and terrifying to behold. It is also a rather interesting shade of mauve.
Goodtimes will give you Dutch Elm disease. It will leave the toilet seat up. It will make a batch of Methanphedime in your bathtub and then leave bacon cooking on the stove while it goes out to chase gradeschoolers with your new snowblower.
Listen to me. Goodtimes does not exist.
It cannot do anything to you. But I can. I am sending this message to everyone in the world. Tell your friends, tell your family. If anyone else sends me another E-mail about this fake Goodtimes Virus, I will turn hating them into a religion. I will do things to them that would make a horsehead in your bed look like Easter Sunday brunch.
So there, take that Good Times.