A clever e-mail is making the rounds that warns of a powerful new virus by the seemingly harmless name of “Kool-Aide.” Kool-Aide supposedly invades a computer’s hard drive and wipes its memory clean.

One recipient in Santa Clara, California angrily deleted the e-mail, and it put him in a foul mood. “I don’t have time to be deleting bogus e-mails!” he grumbled aloud to no one. In fact, all he had really was time, as a recent downsizing at his company left him unemployed.

He got in his car and drove to the deli — a little recklessly, owing to his poor disposition — to buy some ham. When all they had was black forest and no honey-cured, well, he lost it, spewing epithets at the employees, the likes of which got him escorted out of the store by two box boys. On the way home, while idling at a stoplight, a kangaroo reached in through the driver’s side window of his car and raked a tiny foreclaw across the man’s face before bounding off into an alley behind a Pep Boys.

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“Little Michael Duggan needs a new liver, and your letters can help,” reads this fiendishly worded e-mail that’s forever making the rounds. Allegedly, the American Red Cross would donate one dollar toward the purchase of Michael’s organ for every e-mail it received.

A school teacher in Jacksonville, Florida gave her second-grade class the project of accumulating as many e-mails as possible to save little Michael. One of the mothers of these children got very wound up about this, since it would be her duty to provide her daughter with assistance, and she herself was completely unskilled in the use of e-mail, being something of a Luddite, though she would not have used that term to describe herself. Computers confused and intimidated her, and the more technology progressed, the more she felt left out, and the more she felt left out, the more determined she became to have no part of it.

So rather than provide her daughter with aid, she wrote the school principal a long, abusive letter, demanding a halt to this ridiculous e-mail crusade. As she stood in the kitchen and handed the letter to the maid for her to mail on her way home, a kangaroo bounced in, struck the woman once with a lash of its powerful tail, and escaped through the secondary garage. The maid was not injured.

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What seems like a heartfelt petition urging well-intentioned readers to sign their names to save one of TV’s most beloved programs ends up being yet another Internet hoax that has nothing whatsoever to do with securing further funding for a beleaguered PBS.

A Madison, Wisconsin man, upon reading the e-mail, decided to throw an impromptu fund-raising party for PBS at his condominium. His motives however, were suspect. The true goal of the party was not to keep Big Bird on the air, but rather to invite and impress a woman from his office who worked as a data entry supervisor, but who was already dating the project coordinator for the Greenfield account. The man felt sure this seeming act of charity would win her beautiful heart, but on the night of the party, the woman failed to show, despite vague assurances to the contrary.

Furious and distraught, the man had just completed the forcible ejection of his baffled guests, when he stopped to peer into a baby carriage that had been abandoned by the side of the pool. Inside was a kangaroo, dressed as a baby girl, who delivered a punishing kick to the man’s solar plexus with its mighty hind legs. The force of the blow sent the carriage rolling backwards and into the pool, where the kangaroo abruptly sank to the bottom. The man, though stunned and in some pain, dove into the water and rescued the marsupial, reviving it with mouth-to-mouth. After a hushed, uncomfortable moment, the kangaroo looked away, kicked the man again (though not as hard), then departed via the service elevator.

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4. $250 COOKIE RECIPE!!!!!!!!!!!!

The story goes that someone purportedly enjoyed a cookie at Neiman Marcus so much they unwittingly paid $250 for the recipe, and now they were going to stick it to The Man by giving this recipe away online for free.

A woman in Albuquerque, New Mexico read this e-mail, and seethed. The person who sent it, a friend from her book discussion group who never read the book but always had something to say, was someone towards whom the woman felt intense jealousy, owing to this friend’s rich husband and the carefree lifestyle it allowed her to lead. Two hundred and fifty dollars was, to this affluent friend, the kind of money she would spend on her weekly footwear, but for the woman, it was her annual footwear budget. Thus, she was certain the affluent woman sent the e-mail as a cruel joke on her and her modest circumstances.

At their next book group meeting, the woman took every opportunity to savagely berate her wealthy friend’s uninformed opinions on the new John Maynard Keynes biography. The friend, reduced to tears after nearly twenty minutes of scalding verbal abuse, asked the woman why she was being so mean. “I’m not being mean,” she snorted, “it’s just a shame that people can have so much money and not have a brain in their heads.” Weeping, the friend fled, leaving the woman to suffer the disapproving stares of the other participants. One of these, the woman noticed for the first time, was a kangaroo, who quietly passed her a note that read, “Don’t be like that.” The kangaroo was very well put together, with her accessories and so forth.

A scream tore through the group: “It’s the kangaroo that attacks people!”

The kangaroo rummaged in its pouch for another note, which read, “No, I’m not. I’m the kangaroo that just likes to read books.”

Nobody seemed convinced. The kangaroo produced a third note, which read, “Okay, look, I am the kangaroo that attacks people, but I don’t attack people anymore.”

The kangaroo’s honesty seemed to assuage the group’s fears, and so the kangaroo slyly pulled out a fourth note, which read, “At least, not physically.” The room was silent, until one book club member broke into fits of relieved laughter, and the rest of the group joined in. But the laughs of the jealous woman were hollow, and when she nervously turned to offer a tea cake to the kangaroo, she found the animal had slipped out unnoticed through the foyer, blanketed by a layer of mirth which, as Keynes knew, never fails to conceal everything.