04 January 2012


I like getting e-mail. It kind of makes me feel important. Important people get e-mails and so do popular people. If you're getting e-mails, you could be both popular and important. That's pretty much all you need (as a life-goal). Even better, when you get a lot of e-mail you can say things like:

"Forty e-mails!?"

Then the people in earshot for whom you make these exclamations can counter your complaints with tales of even more e-mail and even more time spent sifting through it and in the end, everyone wins. Because you're all still reading e-mails and accordingly, are very popular and important.

Unfortunately in my case, 75% of those e-mails fall in that gray area between obvious spam and something less than spam but still not quite real. Like maybe it's ham, but it's the kind that's pressed and sliced and you can buy tiny lunch meat packs of it for $.89. This is an e-mail a day from Amazon for their best deals in bath salts 'cause one time you used Amazon to buy your mom bath salts. You've earned these e-mails, but they're unwanted.

[Also I feel like the lunch meat metaphor may have been a little forced.]

At least in my case these e-mails are unwanted. I set myself to the task of unsubscribing to them.

Twofold, thence, was my reaction.


People seem to have actually gotten serious about this "opt-in" thing. If it's real e-mails you're getting from a real company, you can really unsubscribe from them. And it usually only takes two clicks. The unsubscribe link is usually buried, true, but once you find it it's smooth sailing from there. People are tripping over themselves trying to let you stop hearing about opportunities to attend seminars about grounds management. With so much bad on the internet, this is a tiny slice of good. Like if you brought a can of spam home and it had a human finger inside it, but then that finger had a huge diamond ring on it.

The ring is the good part, I'm saying. The rest is bad.


Remember that one time earlier in this post where I said e-mail made me feel important? It turns out that even shitty e-mails I don't read count towards that importance total. What makes it worse is that everyone is so nice about unsubscribing. "Sorry to see you go!", they'll say.

"We'll miss you!"

"Let us know if you change your mind!"

"You have been sucessfully unsubscribed!"

These parting messages made me feel as if they didn't care after all, like it was just a business arrangement. Cordially dismissed. I need these e-mails more than they need me. Le Creuset knows I'm not going to buy enameled cookware on a weekly basis. They're just saying hi! I can't buy a new car stereo from Crutchfield every day, even if they are extending Black Friday specials indefinitely. Crutchfield just wants to check in on me and in doing so, letting me know I exist.

Without these e-mails from my benevolent pro-consumer caretakers I feel... lost.


I can't complain about getting ten e-mails when three of them are iTunes receipts and the rest are actually from people I know. There no import there and there's certainly no popularity. I'm missing two legs of the three-legged Life-Stool. The third leg is weltschmerz. Actually the third leg is probably money.


I not well equipped to handle this roller coaster ride of corporate breakups. I had long-standing relationships of ignoring weekly specials for five or six years that dissolved in a flurry of clicks and fake farewells. It is said that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, but I believe that the next time I order something I'll just uncheck the box that says "Yes! I want you to be a part of my life on a semiweekly basis or as you offer what you perceive to be great deals!"

It's just too much work.

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