Tuesday, January 30, 2007


My friend DeAnna came up with a new word that I think has the potential to trickle into everyday conversation: "Remail."

You know: You type out a long e-mail to one of your friends, and then you realize you want to tell another friend exactly the same thing. Maybe you don't want to send the second friend the entire original e-mail; maybe you don't want to copy the second friend to the address line, because that would appear, well, impersonal. Either way, you're too lazy to re-type the first e-mail and personalize it, so you just copy and paste the original and send it on its way to the second friend.

Usually this works out fine, unless you fall into the common remail trap of not proofreading. Here's what can happen: Say you send an e-mail to your friend Marcia. "... and then I took WCB and her alligator toy to the playgroup, and every time another child got within 10 feet of the alligator toy, or looked at the alligator toy from across the room, or even thought about alligators, WCB would scream, 'No! No!' and clutch the alligator toy to her chest, as though she were rescuing a drowning victim. The rest of the time she ignored the alligator toy.* Oh, Marcia, what is it about alligators?"

Then you decide to copy and paste this section into an e-mail to your other friends, Jan and Cindy, but you forget to take out the "Oh, Marcia ..." line. You are so, so busted. You'll forever be known in your social circle as The Remailer, and nobody will ever take your messages sincerely again.

This has happened to you, hasn't it? Years ago, one of my friends once sent me an e-mail about how she'd just gone to a wedding in South Dakota. Yeah, I know: It was MY WEDDING! Remailer. Busted.

Anybody else have stories of remail?

* True story. The part about the alligator, I mean. I don't really have a friend named Marcia. I wish I did, though. She got to go to the prom with Davy Jones.


Anonymous said...

By any chance is this alligator toy musical? Just curious.

DavidE said...

Years ago someone sent me an email with a Far Side cartoon attached. By mistake, I replied to all and included a nasty little remark about one of the people on the distribution list! Not the same as remailing but a potential career suicide incident none the less!
(I can't remember much about the cartoon? Ants in an ant hill, an ardvardt walks up, the ants comment is something about sucking the life out of the party....)

Gina said...

My parents sold our house, which we grew up in during the 70's and 80's, when my dad changed jobs and they moved out of state. The people who bought the house mailed their Christmas cards with a generic letter using computer generated address labels from a database of their contacts. Well, my folks' were in their database and received the card and the letter, which went into great detail about the new house they bought, the gruesome paneling, the hideous red kitchen, and the tacky metallic wallpaper in the hallway. I mean, they really slammed our house and complained about all the remodeling and redecorating they were going to have to do! My mom's feelings were a little hurt, but dad said no worry, the leaky basement could be their little secret...