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That’s right, I’m talking to you.

This is a note to apologize for not “passing on” or “sending back” your lovely animated, huge-lettered poems with midi music, or free offers for computers and trips to Disney or a cure for some non-existent little girl’s illness if your email gets sent to millions of other people, who also apparently do not realize there’s no such thing as an “email tracking system”.

If you don’t get them back and no one gets them forwarded from me, I assure you it doesn’t mean you’re not my friend, I hate America, or don’t love Jesus. I just don’t beleive in using email for the sake of itself, i.e. chain mail fueled by the imposition of bad luck or guilt.

I forgive you, if you forgive me, but think of it this way. If you had to put a 29cent stamp on every email you sent to each person (plus and extra $2 for every blaring midi music nightmare that springs upon friend and foe alike without warning), would you send it? Would you take the time to call the 144 people in your address book about it, realizing afterward you haven’t spoken to half of them for over a year? Is the best thing you can say to them after missing their last five birthdays “reply back and pass this poorly constructed sonnet about teddy bears on to 10 people or you don’t care about me”?

Would they really want to cry over Santa visiting a veteran on Christmas Eve more than the joy (and surprise) of YOU actually visiting THEM?

Yes, that’s what forgotten relatives, long-lost friends, and your insurance agent and lawyer really want out of life – finding in their inbox jokes about how cold it is in Buffalo, reprints of misinformed urban-legend editorialists, and poems about God and angels, smiles and hugs, and just plain weird recycled commentaries on things like “In God we Trust” and 9-11. And they REALLY love opening an email attachment within an email attachment times ten just to reassure themselves that you sent it to them for a good reason. It’s like opening a huge box containing a box and so forth until you’re left with a ring-sized box, only to find a turd in it.

Remember, only you can prevent forest fires and chain letters.

If you like the people in your address book that much, maybe you should send them a fruit basket or something. (Guilt of the plank in my own eye ensues.) I dunno – maybe you should CALL THEM. But mass email is the ultimate excuse to not feel guilty for not staying in touch. But I’m sure an email that has nothing to do with you or them addressed to 100 people does the trick, right? And one million more email copies of “Footsteps” with Michael Row the Boat Ashore thumping and clicking in the background wont hurt anybody, right?

But without this wondrous medium what would you do? You would have to carry copies of chain letters and cartoons on floppy disk around so you could share the wealth of your everyday existence, because obviously more happens at the keyboard than your living room or front door.

It’s funny beacuse it’s true.

It’s sad because it’s true.