Clean Up My E-Mail

Consider the vacuum cleaner. This household device can be quite the enigma. For instance, when it’s broken, things can be extremely annoying. In other words, it really sucks, if the vacuum doesn’t suck. Conversely, if it sucks like it should, then nothing sucks. But it can also suck a lot, if the sucker only sucks a little bit. To be sure, how much that sucker sucks, can determine how sucky your day will suck, in an inverse relationship. It also sucks to clean the sucker that won’t suck.  When that sucker doesn’t suck, and you have to clean the sucker on the sucker, and that just sucks. The sucker, of course, is the part of the sucker that sucks.  In conclusion, if you want your sucky days to suck less, keep the suck on that sucker sucking.

You may ask yourself, “Is that another zit on the back of my neck?”  But that would be a bit off topic, and perhaps a little gross, so please refrain. More likely you’re asking, “Why did he write that all of that silly stuff, and why did I take the time to read it?” Well, there are two reasons. First and foremost, it’s not that often that a person can use the word suck twenty-seven times in one paragraph. So that, in and of itself, is an accomplishment, and isn’t it the little victories, that make life worth living.

Secondly, and more to the point, is that the paragraph, truly, does make sense, even if it is a bit silly. I used the word ‘suck’ in its many iterations.  If I had said, “The vacuum cleaner sucks,” it would be unclear. I may be telling you that the cleaner is working correctly, or I might just hate the thing. Then again both might be true, my children hate the vacuum cleaner the most when it’s working perfectly.  Context is everything. Without context nothing makes sense.

A classic example of this phenomenon – my e-mail account as of late. I am, sad to say, a bit old fashioned. I am not addicted to E-mail. I don’t look at it, sometimes for days at a time. (Well my record is two weeks) Adding to this, we are in the Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza/New Year’s season, every is sending extra e-mails. Just logging on    is a several-hour project. After I delete the spam, I have to read several notes to find the context. Sometimes the issue can be even more confusing because of the sheer volume of recipients. Consequently, if you thought my first paragraph was confusing then (ha ha) you need to meet my family.

Now my extended family likes to communicate by E-mail, no not just communicate – exist.    They have an overwhelming tendency to overuse it a bit, no not a bit. A LOT!. Which means, I don’t get ‘an’ E-mail, I get an E-mail, six answers, fourteen arguments, on second thought seventeen, (we l. love to argue,) several rebuttals, and Tyler saying how great it is to hear from everyone. The worst game of telephone you ever did play.  Also like everyone my E-mail inbox has spam, notes from friends and work, spam, coupons from favorite restaurants, spam, stuff from my children’s school, and spam.  If we put these two statements together, along with the fact that I only check it once a day, I have some very strange e-mail moments.

I opened my email today to find an inbox with thirty new messages. I went to the bottom of the page and open one up. The message reads, “Don’t ask me to tell her!” There is obviously an earlier message so you look for it. Sadly, the first message in the string is, “I’m in. Should I bring beer??” In other words, I was not included in the original message, and added later.  I look at another message in the hopes of learning something and get, “The answer is no!!!!!! I’m not cleaning up the pee!!” Three messages somehow connected. They must make sense to someone, but without context, who knows. I feel like Sherlock Holmes trying to figure out a mystery.

Looking for context, I put the facts together.

1)            Certain people don’t like the idea

2)            Something’s or someone’s making an awful yellow stain on the carpet.

3)            There might be beer so it can’t be all bad,

With these “facts” I deduce that this whole thing is about a dog, unless there is a random grandparent that I don’t know about. (Less likely but possible) Looking at other messages doesn’t help very much. Some of them are: “Wonderful”, “That can’t possibly work”, “7:00 to 9:00 is all I can do”, and “Isn’t this a great picture of Herman.” Herman is a cat, so maybe I was wrong with my dog theory.

I was finally so confused, that I did the unthinkable. (duh dam DUM) I picked up the phone, and called my sister. (gasp) Yes, I do actually use the telephone, incredible in this modern age, but true. Anyway, I had a very nice chat with her voice mail, although it wasn’t very informative, and left a message to have her call me. Then I went back to my inbox.

There were even more E-mails, and none made any sense, but I noticed a trend. Most were between my mother and brother, with others mixed in, kinda like the onions in spaghetti sauce. They’re there and very important, but you barely notice them between the tomatoes and pasta. Now, where was I? Oh yes, the e-mail mystery.

The mystery was coming together, except I could not call my brother, he was working, and my mother had just moved and I don’t know her new number (come to think of it she never gave me her address either- but that is another story  ). I was able to deduce that these mystery messages had something to do with a local sushi restaurant, and my niece’s two Labrador Retrievers. (I knew there was a dog involved)

I was about to send a mass E-mail saying, “What the heck’s it all about???” when my sister called back. She informed me, there were three E-mail threads going on and no one bothered to reset the subject line. It seems that my niece is going on vacation and needs someone to look after her dogs, there is going to be a picnic after she returns, and my brother casually mentioned he should take mom out for dinner. I was further told, none of these pertain to me so I should ignore them. I finally knew the context of all of these. Their commonality was simple. The common thread is that they are all going to be deleted, very soon. Because, after all, dealing with weird E-mail in your inbox, kind of sucks. Or does it suck??

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