July 13, 2006

Rapid Withdrawl and The Case for Shutting Up. No, Not You. YOU.

Rarely have I wanted to post so desperately about something and had so little time to actually string words together.

Yesterday and this morning I have been posting in my head furiously. And I haven't had a second to actually stop and put some of my cerebral posts down in pixels. You should have heard my brain posts--they were much better than this one will be. But I'll forge onward.

To begin, reference the post and ensuing comments at Euan's place, and at Alec Saunders place, each of whom wrote independently about an email exchange they (and I) were involved in yesterday (neither Alec or Euan knew the other had posted until I said, hey you, look at him; and hey you, look at him-- that's what I mean by independently, and that's how I know in case you were going to ask, knowing that the firestorm of "HOW DO YOU KNOW!?!" is likely to follow in what has become a "surreal," to use Alec's accurate descriptor, conversation about conversation).

Yeah, well, YOU write a sentence like that.

Enter Jon Husband, "the asshole who started it all" (he said it, not me) and my personal Qumana Quick Blogging Knight in Shining Armor.

The whole thing started when Jon sent an email to 8030 or so of his closest friends to tell them about a change of address, and to kind of say hi in a funny and smart way, the way that makes Jon fun to be around.

Mistake was, he put folks on the CC line instead of the BCC line. Now, that's something I would do, but it must have been a really busy day for Jon's cheese to have slid that far off the cracker.

Nonetheless, the net builds trust. I trust that Jon is not attempting to fuck up my day. In fact, I welcome Jon into my inbox, even when it's because he screwed up. Especially.

Worst practices anyone?

But I digress. My good friends--a dozen or so who were also on the supposed-to-be-bcc-list--set off onto the proper course of action when they found their email addys publicly listed (OH GOD!). They made lemonade from Jon's little yellow lumps.

What they did was transform shame into joy, right there, just then, in full view.

They turned an accident into an event, a yikes into a chuckle, said WTF, decided to start a social network, get a domain name, make t-shirts, and ramp up to 150 MPH from 0 in record time. You know. What ifs. Just exploring the idea of it all.

As a result of Jon's mistake and the ensuing pranksters, maybe 5 emails hit my inbox that I didn't ask to.

That was when the first recipient sent a one sentence demand to everyone to be removed from this email chain -- complete with an exclamation point and one word: PLEASE!

This gave permission for another of the recipients to admonish the group and ask for an out. And in discussions about what went down, many commentors have admonished Euan particularly for making a case to simply delete and shut up.

Now, there is nothing wrong with saying, hey, could you take me off this list? Whatever the reason, that's obviously one path to be taken upon receipt of what you perceive as some (time consuming?) email exchanges.

But there's MORE RIGHT WITH shutting the fuck up while allowing others to take the opportunity to connect with people they know, and meet people they don't know, to bring a split second of joy or a smile, a spark, maybe even an opportunity to learn something extraordinary from an ordinary moment.

From this accidental overdose of mail, I found Bruce again, and Bruce me.

We're going to have lunch and talk over how to start an intrusive email company. We're going to call it Relevant SpamTM.

Bruce doesn't know it yet because we haven't had lunch yet. But it's on the calendar. And we've been trying to have that lunch for nearly SIX YEARS. Yes, folks SIX YEARS. Since we both hit the blogosphere.

And the only reason it's on for next week is because Jon Husband Fucked Up.

What if that meeting changes the world; what if it changes our mind; what if it changes the way the chef makes his pasta; what if it changes the spare change in the homeless guy's pocket on the I-75 exit ramp; what if Bruce finds a stray dog on the way who winds up pulling him out of a burning house; what if I park in the sun and its 95 degrees and Jenna's crayons melt into a Ken Wilbur-like easel pad sketch that sells on ebay for $555,000?


For the love of humanity, can we not agree to make one mouse click to delete what might seem annoying rather than throwing boiling water on the dogs of the Internet as they passionately hump their species into continued existence?

Can we not agree to bow out quietly without ruining the exquisite moment of ejaculative procreation?

Give me something. I'll sign it.

Sweet Jesus, people.

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