Marybeth Hicks
Here’s my theory about viral emails: There are only two reasons emails go viral on the Internet. They’re either too good to be true or they’re so true that they simply must be shared.

Think about it.

The supposed promise of $200 from Bill Gates just for forwarding a “test” email message to 10 of your contacts?

Riches to be shared with a Nigerian prince who needs your help hiding his vast wealth in your bank account (so please reply with your routing and account numbers)?

The Asian lotto winnings you can collect, even though you’ve never been to Asia and didn’t buy a ticket?

These are the messages that ought to go straight to the spam folder, yet they’ve been circulating around the World Wide Web for years.

On the other hand, some emails take on Internet lives of their own because they ring so true that they speak for throngs of people, communicating exactly the sense and sentiment that millions of folks feel but apparently cannot express adequately.

You’re probably thinking of that email that reminds the receiver that he or she is “exactly where God intends you to be” or the one that bashes the famous “Bridezilla” demands. (Haven’t received these? You’re possibly the only one on Earth.)

Now, an email sent this year from retired British nuclear submarine captain Nick Crews, 67, to his three adult children has taken the Internet by storm. The reason for its popularity?

Mr. Crews lambasted his three offspring for being “underachieving disappointments” who have screwed up their lives and “contrived to avoid even moderate achievement.”

It gets worse. More of this father’s scathing assessments of his children include:

“We are constantly regaled with chapter and verse of the happy, successful lives of the families of our friends and relatives and being asked of news of our own children and grandchildren. I wonder if you realise how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us.”

“Fulfilling careers based on your educations would have helped — but as yet none of you is what I would confidently term properly self-supporting. Which of you, with or without a spouse, can support your families, finance your home and provide a pension for your old age?”

“I can now tell you that I for one, and I sense Mum feels the same, have had enough of being forced to live through the never-ending bad dream of our children’s underachievement and domestic ineptitudes.”

Marybeth Hicks

Marybeth Hicks is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom (Regnery Publishers, 2011).