On Jan. 4, my husband received the following letter:
Dear Mr. Adams,
Knowing that you are a compassionate businessman, I want to inform you of a terminally ill boy's dieing wish.
Craig Chergold is a seven-year-old who has brain cancer. His ambition is to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for owning the largest collection of business cards. Please send your card to the Make a Wish Foundation.
In addition, recopy this request onto your letterhead and forward it to 10 companies in your area.
Through this small effort, you and I can make a big difference.
On Jan. 5, my spouse, a kindhearted man, who also loves to receive anything other than invoices in the mail, asked one of his employees to retype the plea and send one copy to each of the 10 local businesses on the list he compiled.
"Uhm, Mr. Adams, what is this for," she inquired.
"A little boy who has cancer and may die. We need to help him," he replied.
"Yes, sir. The letters will go out today. Why don't we send twenty?"
"Okay, go for it," he enthusiastically encouraged.
On Feb. 20, a similar letter arrived in the Monday mailbag:
Dear Mr. Adams,
Greg Sherhold is a 17-year-old boy with terminal cancer. His greatest desire is to be listed in the Guinness Book as the person who collected the largest number of business cards. To give continuity to this action, please send your card to the Make a Wish Foundation, and pass this request on to as many people as possible.
Time is short for Greg, so respond quickly.
Ken U. Elp
Widget Workers United
"It looks like a race to see who can get in the Guinness Book first," mused my beloved.
He instructed the same employee to retype the request and make copies, saying, "We need to help this kid, too, but I secretly hope the 7 year-old wins. Either way, how exciting for these guys. It gives them something to smile about."
"Yeah. What was that other kid's name?"
"I can't remember."
On March 14, a fellow Chamber member penned a response:
Dear Mr. Adams,
Do not send anymore dieing kids' petitions for business cards. You are the victim of a hoax. We can't believe you've never seen this one. This chain letter has gone around the World Wide Web so many times it quit aging.
The family of this child and the Make a Wish Foundation don't want all those stupid cards. It's a recycling and postal nightmare.
Get a life. Get on the internet.
Sao R. Grips
Further research revealed that in 1989, a nine-year-old kid named Craig Shergold really did have a brain tumor. Relatives waged a greeting card campaign to get him into the Guinness Book. In 1991, a philanthropist paid for surgery to remove the tumor. Oddly, more than 200 million business cards have been sent to him. Today, Craig Shergold is a healthy 28 year-old who only wants business cards with his own name printed on them.
He doesn't need his own card, however, he needs me. We'll both get rich. I'll put him, "The man urban legends are made of," on the speakers' circuit. We'll write his biography, As the Chain Mail Churns, and compose a book for dummies, advising the minions on how they, too, can become the heroes of modern myths. Together, we'll do book tours and freak shows.
Does anyone have Mr. Shergold's address, so I can send him my business card?