Oh Email, How Do I Loathe Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

I remember when I was growing up, I’d hear my mom talk about how much she hated mail every day when it came in. I didn’t understand it. I  loved getting mail. The mailbox was this little slice of awesome that sometimes delivered super exciting things to me. How could anyone hate that? Getting the mail was a high point of each day. A Charlie and the Chocolate Factory moment when you never knew what golden ticket might await you.

I still don’t hate mail. I don’t particularly look forward to it, but just because there’s rarely anything there to excite or terrify me.

But my inbox–that’s another story.

I hate my inbox for the same reason my mom hated the mailbox. It’s the gateway from hell, where a never ending flood of information and Stuff I Have to Do Something About pours in, all of it demanding attention and decisions. My inbox is filling up all the time. It doesn’t help that I have two of them–one for work and one for personal stuff. And the things just won’t stay empty.

I’ll work and slave to get to “inbox(0)” status. The moment I reach it, I turn away for one second–ONE SECOND–and that lousy thing has like 15 new messages waiting for me.

They’re seldom good messages, is the thing. I mean, now and then I’ll get fan mail telling me how much someone loved my book, and that’s just plain lovely. 100% great. But just like getting a tax return check in the mail doesn’t make the flood of other stuff any better, that fan mail doesn’t offset all the rest of it: ads, updates, listservs, church emails, school emails, scheduling conflicts, questions, requests.

I hates it. Hates it with a burning passion reserved by most people for post offices or DMVs or hobbitses.

But you know what’s the worst thing about it? I can’t look away. I hate my email, and yet I’m addicted to checking it. Because what if something awesome just showed up in there? What if I sold a book? What if a Nigerian Prince just left me a buhzillion dollars?

How sick is that? I know there’s hardly ever going to be anything good, and yet I keep going back every fifteen minutes or so.

At least with an actual mailbox, my mom knew she was just getting mail once a day. Now we have mail that comes 24/7, always ready to screw up your day with some awful news. (Note: I haven’t received any awful news today. Yet.)

Remember when getting email was all Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan? These days it’s all Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

‘Nuff said.


  • By Janci, July 24, 2014 @ 1:43 pm

    If you sold a book, someone will call you. This is why I don’t like my work email. It’s NEVER good news. Just rejections.

  • By Bryce Moore, July 24, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

    I was trying to think of some ways email might be okay some of the time. But you’re right. It’s all yuck.

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