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Married . WithOUT Children

Heidi Rice

Anyone who has not been living in a remote rain forest for the past several years is more than likely using e-mail routinely in their daily lives.

And with e-mail connections getting faster, stronger and more powerful all the time, there is a good chance we will see them in a feature-length film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. .

But that’s not the point.

E-mail is now also taking the place of normal face-to-face human contact in many instances, which is wreaking absolute havoc in the mouthwash industry. .

The problem is that e-mail can’t take the place of human voices, eye contact and gestures that are essential in effective communication.

Take for instance, a couple named Jack and Linda.

Jack and Linda met online when Jack accidentally sent Linda an e-mail that was intended for an automobile supply company to order parts for his car. This was because Jack’s typing skills, like those of many men, aren’t always the most accurate.

“I need some new spark plugs and a drive shaft,” Jack wrote.

Linda, like most women, will reply to ANY e-mail and checks her messages on an average of every 3.5 minutes. .

“Oh, I’ll spark your plug,” Linda answered immediately, not knowing what she was talking about, but thinking it sounded kind of cute.

So Jack and Linda struck up a friendship and began corresponding on a regular basis, although they lived in completely separate states and maybe even separate countries.

However, when carrying on an e-mail relationship, there is always the danger that the messages can become misconstrued unless you completely clarify them with signs such as :-). .or ;-). .or ;-P. .to indicate your deepest, most heartfelt emotions.

“LOL!” Jack wrote to Linda in one message, using the universal e-mail symbol meaning “lots of laughs,” or “laughing out loud,” to indicate he had just made a funny.

Linda, on the other hand, interprets the LOL symbol to mean “lots of love” and swoons at the thought that maybe, just maybe, she has finally found the “right one.”

“Oh my dearest darling, I think of you constantly and can’t wait until we can be together,” she writes back . immediately . thinking the relationship has moved on to a romantic level like the stuff out of a Danielle Steele novel.

Three hours later, Jack checks his e-mail and sees Linda’s reply.

“What the . ?” Jack thinks, wondering if perhaps Linda has a slight drinking problem.

Meanwhile, Linda has been HOVERING over the e-mail, now checking it every 3.5 seconds, waiting to receive Jack’s reply.

Finally, INCENSED by his lack of response, she fires off a four-page letter, pouring out her innermost feelings about their relationship.

“THAT’S IT! IT’S OVER!” she writes, using all capital letters to indicate her dismay at his insensitivity. “IF YOU CAN’T COMMUNICATE WITH ME, THEN WE’RE THROUGH!”

Jack, who has been in the middle of watching his favorite football team on TV, logs onto the Internet during a commercial break to check his fantasy football scores and sees Linda’s message.

Not having a CLUE as to what Linda is talking about, he is now convinced that she has a MAJOR drinking problem and wonders if perhaps the “shift” button on her keyboard has become stuck. .

“I’m never writing you AGAIN!” Linda continues in each of her next five consecutive messages. .

Eventually, Jack and Linda went on to form real relationships with people who lived on the same planet that they did. .

Nevertheless, e-mail is a wonderful technology that gives us the ability to communicate with people from all over the world – and without ever having to gargle. .

New Castle resident Heidi Rice’s column appears every Friday in the Post Independent. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com.


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