If you send this message off to 20 people within the next 4 days, and each of them send this letter off to 20 other people within 4 days...

In 40 days, approximately 10 trillion of these messages will cross the Internet.

From day 40 to day 44, an additional 200 trillion of these messages will cross the Internet, at an average of 50 trillion messages per day.

From day 44 to 48, an additional 4,000 trillion of these messages will cross the Internet, at an average of 1,000 trillion messages a day, 41.7 trillion messages per hour, 694 billion messages per minute, or 11.6 billion messages per second.

Of course, the Internet will have ground to a complete halt way before then, and a good thing too, because by day 44 (assuming each man, woman and child in the world is tied to the Internet) you would have to respond to about 2 chain mail letters per second, sending off 20 responses each second, giving you 5/100 of a second to send each message. If you drop the ball, you will break about 1,800,000 chain letters per day, bringing almost two million times the bad luck upon yourself than if you broke the first chain letter to begin with.

The logical conclusion? It is better to break the initial chain letter and receive one dose of bad luck than to continue the chain letter, and by day 44, receive 1,800,000 doses of bad luck.

I knew one poor fellow who ended up in such a circumstance. He ended up having 287,345 heart attacks, losing 5,137 wives, got fired from at least 100,000 jobs, and was run over by a truck. His Visa card was also revoked. Nobody liked him anymore. Finally, he resigned to the idea of not dying, and was immediately hit by a meteorite and vaporized. But his cells went on to experience even more bad luck.