Saturday, July 21, 2012

Before You Hit Send

It is never a good idea to email when drinking, crying, or shaking with anger. This is not to say that it's a bad idea to write when you're emotional or intoxicated. It simply isn't a good idea to put those thoughts into what is essentially a digital envelope with a tiny postman waiting to carrying your diatribe instantly to some random mailbox the moment your finger hits the send button. I'm not at all saying that those thoughts and feelings aren't in some way valid. They might be, but if those thoughts and feelings are important enough to be written down, surely they deserve to be presented in well written, thought provoking, clear, and concise form.

Long ago, in a world far away, we had to write our thoughts on pieces of paper. After a letter was written there was plenty of time to rethink what you'd said and how badly you wanted someone to know that they had scarred your tender soul and how much of an asshole they were. There was always time to take back your thoughts.

I've only written and sent one letter I wished I could take back. It was 3 or more pages of me whining like a spoiled child. It was ridiculously pitiful and hurtful and mirrored exactly how I felt when I wrote it. (Sorry Mom) The day I mailed it I instantly felt shame and planned to go to the mailbox at my parents house early in the morning and retrieve it before it could be read. Small town mail, house to house, is almost as fast as dial up email. Mission failure.

Other than that one time, I don't remember being prepared enough to have all of the necessary equipment to complete the process at the same time: Paper, pen, envelope, stamp, wherewithal to remember the address, etc. The advent of email changed all that. The ability to fire off random bits of vitriol is a mouse click away. You must resist the temptation. That's why I use Word... now (sorry Y, I wasn't always as thoughtful).

I'm a document saver. Rather than opening a blank email, which let's be honest, is just waiting to auto fill the wrong damned email address, it's best to open a nice fresh Word document and put your thoughts in there. If you are pleased with yourself when it's all over, you can do one of two things. You can email the document itself or you can copy/paste that text into your email program. If you're not pleased with it or you're still unsure about your desire to send, you can always save it. That's what I do. I don't send nearly as many letters as I write. You're all welcome.

It's always interesting to just click the "x" in the top right corner and let the document save itself as whatever your first written line is. I have mine automatically save to My Documents. It makes it much easier to erase them later if I feel they might be particularly embarrassing if found after my death. It also helps you answer tough questions, such as:

1. When did I start using the word douche so frequently?
2. What time of the day do I experience the most unattractive emotions?
3. What was going on in 2009 that caused me to be so hateful? (yes I transfer old docs to new computers)
4. When did my speeling becom so atroshus?

There are still times when I've given myself plenty of time to calm down and I still send things I wish I hadn't. Fortunately it's not nearly as frequently as the amount of times I've spoken out loud and wished I hadn't, or sent a text message I wished I hadn't, or slashed a tire I wished I hadn't, or keyed a car I wished I h... Life was easier when I had to buy a stamp and find an envelope.

So kids, have you ever mailed a letter or sent an email that you wanted to take back and couldn't? Have you ever sent an email to the wrong person? 

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