Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Why I'll No Longer Complain About Forwarded Emails

As I write this, I have over 2000 emails in my inbox. That's partly because I've been neglecting my emails for the last couple of months. And yeah, the occasional offer to lower my mortgage, make my manhood larger or more enthusiastic, or watch some nekkid coeds do nasty things sneaks through the spam block. But really, most of those two thousand emails are forwards, and they mostly come from folks I know.

Forwards from coworkers. Forwards from old Army buddies. Forwards from friends of friends. Forwards from friends of friends of friends.

And yeah, I was complaining about them. All those coworkers and old Army buddies who'd do nothing but send forwards of jokes, political statements, or other stuff that I just, by gawd, had to know.

"Why the heck can't they write something?" That's what I'd think. Something about themselves. Something about their daily lives. Something about their wives. Something about their kids and/or grandkids. Something about their daily lives. Something about their hopes for the future, or their recollections of the past.

At one point, I actually wrote an email to everyone on my address book, asking that the forwards cease. I never sent it. I realized that, no matter how tactfully I tried to couch my request, it would seem harsh to at least a few people.

This year, four deaths have really prompted me to look at those forwards in a new light. In the last few months, two fellow pilots have succumbed to illness, and two others have died in helicopter accidents. I'll never see them on this earth again.

I won't complain anymore. I won't complain because those forwards mean, first and foremost, "I'm still living on this earth. You still have the opportunity to get off of your ass and call me." They mean, "You're still in my thoughts often enough to include you in this email." Or, they might mean, "You're no longer part of my daily life, but you once were, and I haven't forgotten that."

So to all of my friends and coworkers who send me nothing but forwards, please continue.

Please continue for many years to come.


debby said...

That's one of the things about getting older: you notice that stuff happens to people your age...

Kelly said...

I use to complain about forwards, too. I've also been one of those guilty of forwarding too much! (I go through spurts where I try to quit doing it)

When sending, I try to limit the recipients to those I really think would care about seeing the e-mail.

And bottom line (in my case or theirs)...there's always that delete button!

Redlefty said...

As long as it's not the old Robot Bartender / Hillary joke, forward away!

Bob said...

I still complain about forwards, Hal, but you have definitely given me something to think about. My brother is the worst but heck, just as you say, he does still think about me.

quid said...

Wonderful essay, Hal. I don't send many of them on, but I do check each one...and each one somehow gives me a little whiff of the person who cared enough to pass it on.


Algernon said...

The question is whether it's an effort to connect or not. I get forwards from people who have simply forgotten I'm on their distribution list.

Once in a while I write an e-mail letter to update my friends as a group about what's happening. A few years ago, a person who had been a friend complained to me about the impersonal nature of a group email and asked me to stop. I said to him very well, no more group emails to him, and I hoped to stay in touch. A week later I got an email forward from him: one of those online petitions that have been circulating for years. Jackass.