Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pass It On

Like most people who have an email account (or two, or three) I get A LOT of forwards. Now, I don't know how the rest of the world handles forwards, but most of mine undergo a fairly severe triage session, mainly based on the subject line. If it passes the subject line test, I'll open the email and see how many generations of forwards this email has endured. How do you tell? It's easy. You can count the carats (>) much like you'd count rings on a tree. The more carats, the more times it has been passed along, and the less likely you'll know the original sender. It's kind of like an opposite six degrees of Kevin Bacon game.

If the forwarded email passes the carat test, the next thing my twitchy finger of fate looks for is an abnormal number of pictures that are waaaaaaay slow to load. If the picturrrific email is a poky puppy, once I see one completed picture, I call, "Good Enough!" and send it on its merry way to deletesville. The same goes for animated graphics, anything with an overabundance of smiley faces or out of season humors. Pumpkins in August. Snowmen in April. Santa laying out at the beach. I don't want to see it in the grocery store and I don't want to see it in my inbasket. Peeps, on the other hand, get an unconditional year-round pass. Why? My inbox. My rules. I like Peeps.

All this may make me sound like a bit of a grumpy old curmudgeon, and I'm really not. I simply have to work really hard to keep my inbox manageable. You'd gasp if you heard what I consider "manageable" for an inbox, and I'm not going to tell you. Suffice it to say, it's a lot. Those who have an inbox of four emails (no more than three days old), nothing in their saved or sent file, nothing in the deleted file, and three new spam emails that arrived less than an hour ago are a little bit unnatural, in my book. Either that or they have no appreciation of the historical significance of a six-year old conversation that always begins with "It's been forever. What's the latest?"

Lately, though, something has happened. The forwards have been good. They have been thoughtful, encouraging and affirming. They have been so good, I've passed them on, which is something I rarely do. I got one today, with the subject line "This IS awesome, women." Now usually a subject line like that would never pass the sniff test, but for whatever reason, I went ahead and opened the email. It was riddled with exclamation points; another leading indicator that screams DELETE ME, but I didn't. The original sender (yes indeed, someone I've never heard of) told me I better have kleenex handy. I took one look at that ridiculous sentiment, snorted, and opened the YouTube file.

It was nice...cute...funny...powerful...and true.
I was OK until the last 65 seconds.

I also got a forward that was a powerpoint show. I often cringe at the cheezy music, hokey pictures and scrolling, wavy text graphics that drive me crazy. I usually make it through two or three slides before I bail. This was so good I saved it for myself. And then I sent it to others. And then I wrote down the text so I could remember it.

Now it could be that the quality of forwards has simply improved web-wide, but I doubt it. And it could be that I've lost my acerbic, cynical edge, but I doubt that too. But then again, maybe I am ready for some inspiration. Maybe my epiphany is the realization and acceptance that we all need each other. Sink or swim, we're all in this boat together, so we might as well acknowledge the fact that it works so much easier if we row together. The last few years have been long, discouraging, and plain old hard in so many ways. I'm ready for some good news. I'm ready for words that inspire and thoughts that challenge. If you have some, by all means, pass it on.

Thanks, Holidailies, for giving me a month share my little corner of the world and for giving me the opportunity to pass it on. See you all tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I'm not quite there yet, I usually delete forwards without a backward (ha) look, but I have found myself making an effort to give them a little more time lately. I guess it's that by now all my friends know I hate forwards, so if they thought it was worth sending it to me, surely it's worth looking at? Or at least acknowledging that they were thinking of me, which I guess is the more important part.

Me. Here. Right now. said...

I was fine until her voice cracked.