rick's list - bogus heart attack warning edition

It's particularly cruel when I get to work, settle in at my desk on the third floor of The Day and see an email with a subject line that reads THE FOUR SIGNS YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE OF A HEART ATTACK.

As a serial hypochondriac, this is not the way to start the day. Is it spam? Well, technically. But THE FOUR SIGNS YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE OF A HEART ATTACK didn't just randomly land in my Inbox. If I didn't spend way too much time looking up various maladies — ranging from the obvious "cardiac infarction" and "why is my liver bleeding?" topics to less-likely scourges such as "You ate a raw oyster that was sitting on the porch all night?!" — I wouldn't receive ALERT! YOU'RE DYING emails, which, of course, are triggered because I was researching this stuff to begin with.

Well, there's no way I'm NOT going to open an email that says THE FOUR SIGNS YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE OF A HEART ATTACK — and, as a professional writer, I will suggest to the Panic-Inducers who composed the subject line that they might want to use a contraction — "YOU'RE" instead of "YOU ARE" — because it's shorter, and every second counts if I'm about to die.

Is that, in fact, what's going to happen, you ask? Let's find out. Here's what happened when I opened the email:

1. I'm directed to CLICK HERE NOW!

2. Hmm. I'm beginning to think these people aren't really trying to help me. But my hesitation triggers a pop-up warning. WAIT! it screams (or the text equivalent of screaming). If I close out, I'll forfeit a chance to learn about a 10-second "trick" that can save my life! Not sure how many cardiologists out there employ "tricks," which is a word that suggests Penn & Teller rather than Michael DeBakey. But I can't turn back now because, well, I could die.

3. It's a video! And the voice-over is one of those Captain Big Voice people. He ... frightens me, intoning things like, "It's the worst pain any human could ever imagine!" and "There you'll be! Squirming!" and, in the event you survive the first heart attack — a possibility that seems to disappoint Captain Big Voice — he says, "Imagine ... going through the rest of your life ... just waiting to have another — this time FATAL — heart attack!"

4. I can't take it anymore! Here's my credit card number! Save me NOW!


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