Home and Deranged
An IT department-intercepted, embarrassing e-mail inspires a personal cursingban
You know how when you fall down when no one else is around, it’s almost more humiliating?
As if even though bystanders might’ve laughed at you, at least they would have sympathized? But now you’re just alone on your floor with the pitiful awareness that you’re a humongous dork? Well, I had thought that eating it by yourself in your house was the most red-faced a person could get.
I found out Tuesday I was wrong. Embarrassing yourself is one thing, but embarrassing someone else is a trillion times worse.
The backstory: I sent a run-of-the-mill weekend update e-mail to my best friend in St. Louis Monday afternoon. The lengthy diatribe was run-of-the-mill in that we do this often, but the weekend that inspired it was rather atypical.
Most significantly, on Saturday night I had run into an ex for the first time since he moved back into town. And although we broke up what now seems like eons ago, the circumstances surrounding it had become decidedly hairier, and I had yet to see him since I’d had several major revelations.
When by Monday night I hadn’t heard back from the bestie, I brushed it off as odd, but not alarmingly so. Tuesday morning, though, I was met with an e-mail from the Information Technology department of her rather serious engineering firm. It wasn’t auto-generated. Oh no — this was a real message from a real person, who copied the both of us to let us know why my message had never made it to my friend’s inbox. It had gotten caught up in the company’s SPAM filter — one that filters for obscenity.
As if the fact that I may have seriously and professionally embarrassed my best friend by even being associated with her weren’t bad enough, the (ex-Marine) IT professional copied and pasted my e-mail — pulling out every profanity, adding asterisks and bolding the words in red.
I stared at the message speechless, for once. It looked like it had a particularly nasty case of the chicken pox. The IT guy, I thought, at least seemed genuinely concerned that my future antics might not make it to my friend for analysis. That must’ve taken some time — he obviously had my best interests at heart.
I stutteringly and apologetically confirmed with my friend that mine was not the first e-mail to set off her office SPAM filter, though she conceded my note had been “especially powerful.”
Which got me to thinking — I’m a professional writer. Why, when I need to express myself, do I so often resort to the same six words, or creative variations thereof?
Shouldn’t I have a more extensive vocabulary for “twat waffle?" Maybe replace the occasional "douche nozzle" with "cad?" Don’t I have more creative expressions for “Uh oh?” Preferably ones that don’t involve excrement?
There wasn’t really anything powerful about my language, except perhaps its shock value — shock value that seems to diminish with every knee-jerk use.
I think it’s time to try to be as articulate when I speak (or communicate casually) as I hope I am when I write. So this week, no cursing for Caroline.
I suppose I could take a more Lenten approach and quit cussing for a month, or even indefinitely — but let’s be serious. There’s no