Examples: [Collected via e-mail, November 2000]
At the writing of this letter, a friend of mine had already received
Origins: A version of the preceding chain letter appeared in an Ann Landers column in 1996, but
Some versions contain lines that say of the friend who received
Male versions (offering relief for "tired businessmen" and promising those who mail off their wives will receive 16,740 women and "some of them will be dandies") were around in the 1950s. The central theme of getting your own burden back if you break the chain has been used in other joke letters, too.
A 1956 joke book presented the following similar bit of workplace humor:
"Fellow slaves! This is a plan to bring happiness and steak dinners to tired government working girls. It won't cost you a nickel. Simply send five copies of this letter to the girls as underprivileged and neglected as yourself. Then tie up your boss and send him to the girl on the top of the list. When your name reaches the top, you will receive 12,938 bosses.
"Have faith! Don't break the chain! The last girl who did got her own boss back!"
Last updated: 26 December 2008
Cerf, Bennett. The Life of the Party. Garden City, NY: Hanover House, 1956 (p. 154). Dundes, Alan and Carl Pagter. >Urban Folklore From the Paperwork Empire. Austin: American Folklore Society, 1975. ISBN 0-292-78502-X. (pp. 7-8). Landers, Ann. "Ann Landers." 26 August 1996 [syndicated column].