The Six Stages of Email

An essay excerpted from Nora Efron's book, I Remember Nothing:

Stage One: Infatuation

I just got email! I can't believe it! It's so great! Here's my handle. Write me. Who said letter-writing was dead? Were they ever wrong. I'm writing letters like crazy for the first time in years. I come home and ignore all my loved ones and go straight to the computer to make contact with total strangers. And how great is AOL? It's so easy. It's so friendly. It's a community. Wheeeee! I've got mail!

Stage Two: Clarification

Okay, I'm starting to understand—email isn't letter-writing at all, it's something else entirely. It was just invented, it was just born, and overnight it turns out to have a form and a set of rules and a language all its own. Not since the printing press. Not since television. It's revolutionary. It's life-altering. It's shorthand. Cut to the chase. Get to the point. It saves so much time. It takes five seconds to accomplish in an email something that takes five minutes on the telephone. The phone requires you to converse, to say things like hello and good-bye, to pretend to some semblance of interest in the person on the other end of the line. Worst of all, the phone occasionally forces you to make actual plans with the people you talk to—to suggest lunch or dinner—even if you have no desire whatsoever to see them. No danger of that with email. E-mail is a whole new way of being friends with people: intimate but not, chatty but not, communicative but not; in short, friends but not. What a breakthrough. How did we ever live without it? I have more to say on this subject, but I have to answer an instant message from someone I almost know.

Stage Three: Confusion

I have done nothing to deserve any of this: Viagra!!!!! Best Web source for Vioxx. Spend a week in Cancún. Have a rich beautiful lawn. Astrid would like to be added as one of your friends. XXXXXXXVideos. Add three inches to the length of your penis. The Democratic National Committee needs you. Virus Alert. FW: This will make you laugh. FW: This is funny. FW: This is hilarious. FW: Grapes and raisins toxic for dogs. FW: Gabriel García Márquez's Final Farewell. FW: Kurt Vonnegut's Commencement Address. FW: The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. AOL Member: We value your opinion. A message from Barack Obama. Find low mortgage payments, Nora. Nora, it's your time to shine. Need to fight off bills, Nora? Yvette would like to be added as one of your friends. You have failed to establish a full connection to AOL.

Stage Four: Disenchantment

Help! I'm drowning. I have 112 unanswered emails. I'm a writer—imagine how many unanswered emails I would have if I had a real job. Imagine how much writing I could do if I didn't have to answer all this email. My eyes are dim. My wrist hurts. I can't focus. Every time I start to write something, the email icon starts bobbing up and down and I'm compelled to check whether anything good or interesting has arrived. It hasn't. Still, it might, any second now. And yes, it's true—I can do in a few seconds with email what would take much longer on the phone, but most of my emails are from people who don't have my phone number and would never call me in the first place. In the brief time it took me to write this paragraph, three more emails arrived. Now I have 115 unanswered emails. Strike that: 116. Glub glub glub glub glub.

Stage Five: Accommodation

Yes. No. Can't. No way. Maybe. Doubtful. Sorry. So sorry. Thanks. No thanks. Out of town. OOT. Try me in a month. Try me in the fall. Try me in a year. NoraE@aol.com can now be reached at NoraE81082@gmail.com.

Stage Six: Death

Call me.



From the book How Not to Act Old, by Pamela Redmond Satran:

"Sure there are Young Republicans, just like there's jumbo shrimp and soft rock. It's an oxymoron; all Republicans are - in spirit, if not in years - old. They're conservatives, which by definition means that they're against change and for the status quo. They're pro-money - and why not, since as old white men, they have plenty. And against abortion - again, why not, since as old white men, they can't get pregnant.

"Even if, for some reason, your politics line up with the Republicans, I still implore you to resist voting with them. Think not of American, but of your image."



I am eleventeen years old today! Myownmammas are habbing a Barkday Party for me! We're gonna hab Fropsty Paws and turkey! And I knows for sure I'm getting a toy! I hope it's berry squeeky, so I can dribe my brudders and sisters cwazy! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!

PS  As you can sees, I am still "extraordinarily handsome!"


I love Autumn, with its gorgeous colors and scents. Even some of the color changes in our perennial garden are more magnificent than the orginal hues. The foliage along the banks of the Mississippi is breathtaking, with nearly every color imaginable.

If you can, get out to enjoy this beauty while it lasts.



From the book: How Not to Act Old, by Pamela Redmond Satran

"Dont Have Black Friends, Gay Friends, Jewish Friends, or Young Friends

"Or white friend, straight friends, girl friends, Baptist friends, or old friends.
No, I am not racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-Semetic, ageist freak. What I'm saying is that calling your friends "my black friends" or "my gay friends" is evidence that you are conscience of your friends as belonging to som special group, which is an outmoded way of looking at things. Friends are friends, and the modern - dare I say young - way is to accept people as individuals and not identify them as anything other than "my friends."




By Nicholas Kristoff, New York Times:

"In my reporting, I regularly travel to banana republics notorious for their inequality. In some of these plutocracies, the richest 1 percent of the population gobbles up 20 percent of the national pie.

"But guess what? You no longer need to travel to distant and dangerous countries to observe such rapacious inequality. We now have it right here at home — and in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, it may get worse.

"The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

"C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.

"That’s the backdrop for one of the first big postelection fights in Washington — how far to extend the Bush tax cuts to the most affluent 2 percent of Americans. Both parties agree on extending tax cuts on the first $250,000 of incomes, even for billionaires. Republicans would also cut taxes above that.

"The richest 0.1 percent of taxpayers would get a tax cut of $61,000 from President Obama. They would get $370,000 from Republicans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. And that provides only a modest economic stimulus, because the rich are less likely to spend their tax savings.

"At a time of 9.6 percent unemployment, wouldn’t it make more sense to finance a jobs program? For example, the money could be used to avoid laying off teachers and undermining American schools.

"Likewise, an obvious priority in the worst economic downturn in 70 years should be to extend unemployment insurance benefits, some of which will be curtailed soon unless Congress renews them. Or there’s the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which helps train and support workers who have lost their jobs because of foreign trade. It will no longer apply to service workers after Jan. 1, unless Congress intervenes.

"So we face a choice. Is our economic priority the jobless, or is it zillionaires?

"And if Republicans are worried about long-term budget deficits, a reasonable concern, why are they insistent on two steps that nonpartisan economists say would worsen the deficits by more than $800 billion over a decade — cutting taxes for the most opulent, and repealing health care reform? What other programs would they cut to make up the lost $800 billion in revenue?

"In weighing these issues, let’s remember that backdrop of America’s rising inequality.

"In the past, many of us acquiesced in discomfiting levels of inequality because we perceived a tradeoff between equity and economic growth. But there’s evidence that the levels of inequality we’ve now reached may actually suppress growth. A drop of inequality lubricates economic growth, but too much may gum it up.

"Robert H. Frank of Cornell University, Adam Seth Levine of Vanderbilt University, and Oege Dijk of the European University Institute recently wrote a fascinating paper suggesting that inequality leads to more financial distress. They looked at census data for the 50 states and the 100 most populous counties in America, and found that places where inequality increased the most also endured the greatest surges in bankruptcies.

"Here’s their explanation: When inequality rises, the richest rake in their winnings and buy even bigger mansions and fancier cars. Those a notch below then try to catch up, and end up depleting their savings or taking on more debt, making a financial crisis more likely.

"Another consequence the scholars found: Rising inequality also led to more divorces, presumably a byproduct of the strains of financial distress. Maybe I’m overly sentimental or romantic, but that pierces me. It’s a reminder that inequality isn’t just an economic issue but also a question of human dignity and happiness.

"Mounting evidence suggests that losing a job or a home can rock our identity and savage our self-esteem. Forced moves wrench families from their schools and support networks.

"In short, inequality leaves people on the lower rungs feeling like hamsters on a wheel spinning ever faster, without hope or escape.

"Economic polarization also shatters our sense of national union and common purpose, fostering political polarization as well.

"So in this postelection landscape, let’s not aggravate income gaps that already would make a Latin American caudillo proud. To me, we’ve reached a banana republic point where our inequality has become both economically unhealthy and morally repugnant."

Zztopdog notes: Please also visit Nicholas Kristof's blog, On the Ground.



Via: First Door on the Left

All indications are that the Republicans have won control of the House of Representatives. I do not understand. The pundits are saying that people voted for the Republicans mainly because they are unhappy with the state that the economy is in. It was the Republicans that got us in this mess in the first place. It will now be the Republicans that will delay any economic recovery for at least two years. If voters wanted to send a message to President Obama and the Democrats tonight, message received. You love misery and want to prolong it for as long as possible.

Congratulations. Mission accomplished. Our government will now be in deadlock and no further progress will be possible for at least the next two years.

Really, people, I am so disappointed. Have you learned nothing?

My congratulations condolences to Speaker Boehner.

The fun begins.