E-mail pass-alongs: Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you
Anyone who doesn’t have e-mail is missing out on an entire subculture.
I’m not saying this e-mail subculture is necessarily all good. In fact it has elements in it (junk e-mail, a.k.a. SPAM) as irritating as telemarketing. But besides being a lightning-fast messenger for business and personal documents, e-mail has created a new kind of universal note-passing. A dozen years ago, jokes, thoughtful missives, corny anecdotes and just plain old cool (and sometimes raunchy) things to look at didn’t get the play they get now amidst those equipped with an e-mail address.
You know what I mean if you’re on e-mail.
And if you’re not, take a look at the breadth of thought-provoking drivel you’re missing out on. First, this kind of pass-along e-mail generally fits into several categories.
There are the Words o’ Wisdom e-mails such as: “If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.” Or: “Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.” Or the ever-touching: “Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either. Just leave me the hell alone.”
Words o’ Wisdom By Kids e-mails are also very popular. Seven-year-old little Johnny is included on a recent one making the rounds. “I’ve learned that our dog doesn’t want to eat my broccoli either,” writes Johnny. So is 10-year-old Emily’s advice: “Don’t pull Dad’s finger when he tells you to.” It’s a good thing to remember.
Then there are the Amazing Facts e-mails, which are far too obscure to waste time checking to see if they’re actually true. Some of my favorites are, “What trivial fact about Mel Blanc (voice of Bugs Bunny) is the most ironic? He was allergic to carrots;” and, “Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th – John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on Aug. 2, but the last signature wasn’t added until five years later;” and “The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time television were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.”
Some of my personal favorites are e-mails about newspaper headlines gone awry, such as “Include Your Children When Baking Cookies,” and “Stolen Painting Found by Tree,” and “Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over.” Gads!
If you’re like me, you have a few friends who you can count on to keep you updated on the current e-mail of the moment. I have a friend in Basalt who’s got friends around the world and keeps a huge horde of us tapped into the latest and greatest pass-along e-mail. (Yes, Cam, that’s you.)
I’ve got another friend – an old family friend with a lovely, melodic voice and very gentle manners who was Miss Australia in the 1960s. She’s since aged – beautifully, I might add – and is constantly surprising me (in a good way) with her offbeat humor. Trish recently included me in a group e-mail of a vintage article from a magazine called “Housekeeping Monthly” circa 1955 with instructions on how to be a good wife (“Remember, your husband is the master of the house; You have no right to question him”) with her personal editorial comment, “Can you imagine this????”
Sometimes I’ll go for months without opening these kinds of e-mail. I get sick of them, or I get too busy to care about what a 6-year-old might think about broccoli.
But after awhile, I miss my pass-along e-mails. I miss getting advice like the one I got from Cam that told me, “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.”
And being a newspaperwoman, I also appreciate e-mails about clever word contests held by newspapers. One circulated about a contest for readers of The Washington Post in which they were asked to supply alternate meanings for various words. A few of the winning entries included: “Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp;” or “Negligent (adj.), a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie.” Get it? Clever.
Carrie Click is a Post Independent staff writer. Her column runs on Tuesdays.
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