We laugh, we cry, we delete e-mail

February 09, 2004

E-mail flies into my computer, sometimes chiming like a child demanding immediate attention. At the start of the day, I log on to see that I've received 20 messages. People must really love me. Too bad I don't know any of them. With the delete button functioning as my shovel, it's time to muck out the stall.

I let my fingers do the walking, quickly skirting by any seedy e-mails. How did the unheard of people worm their way into my life? They obviously don't know much about me with their offers to help me meet singles in my area. And with names like klooagewhoseyourmomma, I think we can keep our distance. Most sex-related e-mails are immediate giveaways with subjects such as xlgrpqin. Who wants to get involved with someone who can't spell? Oh sure, they promise to improve our love lives. They usually say, "Solve the problem downstairs," "My girlfriend bought me the patch" or "Peaness making you sad?" No thanks.


Our resident computer gurus (geeks) tell us not to open messages from people we don't know because they may unleash a virus on the system. One, in particular, they warned about was the "Admin." It looked like an official message from an administrator. I must give him an A for effort. He is a persistent booger. I must have killed his efforts about 20 times.

Despite the warning, there are some that I'm tempted to investigate - "Someone at work likes you," "Lose weight while you sleep," "We will pay your bills," DVD offerings, medical breakthroughs and how to recover your stock market losses. These sound intriguing, but I know it's all a pretense for some get-rich scheme by someone else.

I also wonder about the quick access to drugs. Every day I'm offered viagra, vicodin and other medicine cabinet goodies, some not so subtle as "Need heavy duty painkillers?" I'll pass again.

Despite having to sift through all this spam, I love hearing from the people I know and love. I can gaze at the cherubic faces of friends' newborns. There are a host of animated dancing animals to entertain me in greeting cards.

And the jokes, many worth passing on. I could be the life of the party if I only remembered them. Thanks for the ones geared toward kids say the darnedest things. I rarely take the time to connect to FlowGo, but they, at least, bring a smile with their titles, such as "There's a penguin in my panties."

E-mail is especially great for planning a rendezvous with girlfriends with a woman's prerogative to change our minds. After about four or five go-rounds, we have a place to meet nailed down and have figured out who can come.

I'm politically connected, thanks to one friend. The political vibes of the liberal agenda carry across the rippling amber waves of grain. I don't always read these, but I like knowing these viewpoints are out there being batted around.

For all the chain letters, sorry to all the people I've dropped the ball on when I'm tagged or touched by an angel. You all know I love you even if I don't pass it on to eight friends within the next half hour.

Of course, there are the life's lessons ones about hardships others have endured. I feel strange as I sit reading an e-mail with tears in my eyes about the truckers who helped the poor, single mother with three kids make Christmas for her children.

Yes, the world of e-mail contains much to complain about, but there's always the delete button. I enjoy the cheap entertainment. I laughed, I cried, I forwarded.

Emily Toadvine is features editor at The Advocate.|2/8/04***

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