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News Story
Updated: 07/18/2014 09:05:13AM

If Chicken Little were alive, she would have email

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S.L. Frisbie

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An advice column item (yes, the secret is out, I read advice columns, which is a far cry from following the advice contained therein) in the magazine supplement to this newspaper a few days ago dealt with email protocol.

The gist of it was that ending the subject line with two or three exclamation points is poor etiquette, and marking items in red as urgent when the content is not remotely important violates any reasonable protocol.

I don’t recall ever getting an email with only two or three exclamation points in the subject line. The average, for people who use them, is around 14. Understatement is not a fault of your average exclamalean (defined, if only by me, as somebody who cannot send a message without a blast of exclamation points in the subject line).

One might call it the Chicken Little Syndrome.

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If Chicken Little were still around today, I have no doubt that she would append at least 14 exclamation points to every email, no matter how mundane.

(And yes, I am sure that if Chicken Little were around today she would indeed have email.)

The mind fairly boggles at the number of exclamation points Ms. Little would use in commenting on Bartow’s new “Domestic Fowl Ordinance,” better known as “The Chicken Law.”

I am favored with daily political blasts from both the right and the left.

The former often begin with: “You won’t see this in the lamestream media.” Some folks were absent from kindergarten the day that they taught that name-calling is poor behavior. When the class was repeated in the sixth grade, the teacher added “and immature,” which really hurt.

It is surprising how many of the “you won’t see this” items I have actually seen, sometimes as the lead item, on the NBC Evening News in the previous week. Most of them (at least the ones that have a ring of truth) are found in the daily newspapers. And then there are some that supposedly happened five or 10 years ago, and have lost their status as breaking news.

I also get alarmist emails from the left, including one from a member of Congress who thanks me for my faithful support of her past campaigns to rid government of everyone with whom she disagrees before it is too late, and ends with a request for more money, usually a sum ending with two or more zeroes.

Problem is (1) I do not live in her district, (2) I have never met her, let alone sent her money, and (3) she addresses me (her ol’ buddy, ol’ pal) as “Dear Sayre.” In addition to the fact that I use my initials, not my given first name, the name is Sayer, not Sayre.

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I have no problem spending a few minutes reading alarmist messages from either end of the political spectrum (though I seldom bother to open attachments to get “the whole story” or to expose myself to the “must read” messages contained therein).

But I do get a little miffed with the ones that tell me that 86 percent (never 85 or 87) of the people who get this message will send it to everyone in their address book, and the other 14 percent are slimier than pig poop, and are lily-livered cowardly traitors not worthy to scoop up after John Wayne’s horse.

“You see which one I am,” it ends. “Which one will you be?”

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(S. L. Frisbie is retired. Having played in the Summerlin-by-gosh Institute Marching Band for four years, he always preferred parades in which the horses, even those ridden by The Duke, came at the end of the parade. Especially since the band wore white shoes.)


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