“Woe is money,” I once wrote to someone in a nearly somnolent state, before my handwriting drizzled down slant into a puddle of Bic blots. Now, you could say such a thought was brilliant, not the dreamtalk of a narcoleptic letter-writer. But narcoleptic I am, and I learned over the years not to trust my sleepy brain to spew brilliance when I am not fully alert.
However, once email came along, maintaining such discipline became more difficult. As an author, a blogger and formerly an inveterate letter-writer, I correspond easily and with many people. But night-owling and narcolepsy go down about as well as swallowing a piece of hair; many is the time I have carelessly pressed “Send” and out went, well, nonsense instead of carefully conceived coherency.
I’ve had too many computers and lost too many of those emails to quote them directly, but here is an example that should give you pause: “We had been in the next room when suddenly the woman I sat next to…Where is it? Too much snow having to get out of the No, no not me, not me! Godawful smell the bumper rubber, the, the, oh it’s Manny, from TV, the foxes. Ha ha, I’m joking with the mostest hostess… [Coming to] where was I?”
Anger is another reason I’ve learned not to press Send. I recently responded to emails from my family with some thoughtless expletives that were ill-chosen and unnecessary. Since my father estranged himself from me for 35 years before reconciling seven years before his recent death, I know how feuds can become a family tradition and might have ignited another. No need to oxygenate any flickerings. As the slogan goes: Anger is like holding a hot coal in your mouth…Think about it. Better to scribble that anger, and those expletives, by hand in a journal…It’s good exercise and burns the fire of that energy and will hurt no one.
Email is a quick axe, a guillotine, but like any honed blade, it can kill. Save any email for forgiveness and understanding. It will make the journey – yes, in packets, but in that miracle of email they will reunite for peacemaking. That is worth years of goodwill with people you love more than you hate, trust me.
But why should you trust me? Because I’m the one who wrote “Woe is money” and dreamtalk or not, it is sort of brilliant after all. Maybe I didn’t send it out, but then, there was no Send button in those days or perhaps I would have. Too bad. It might have gone viral and become an expression of common currency.