Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Do You Ever Save Your Email?

Last week I almost wrote a post about my pet peeves... maybe another day I will.

But, in the meanwhile, here's one of them: I hate it when people use sweeping generalizations, usually containing words like "all," "always," or "never." Ones which come to my mind? "All tv evangelists are only in it for the money," "All men nowadays are scum," "Kids today are always spoiled/thugs/shallow," or "Nothing good ever happens to me." (And the list goes on...)

Well, here's another one, one I come across every few months it seems--this month it appeared on the last page of the latest issue of the magazine, Home Companion (one of the few magazines out there which I still enjoy):

"We don't write letters anymore. We dash off email and text messages. We send our love into the world as ephemeral electrons. It won't clutter out closets, and our children won't have to sort through it when we die. It's efficient, it's convenient, and it's fast. But in one click, it's gone." ... Joseph M. Schuster

Every time I see this re-hashed, negative sentiment I ask, "Does no one own a printer? Does no one print out the extra-special email they receive from friends and lovers? What makes an email so extremely different from an old-fashioned letter? Aren't we still able, in an email, to write and express our deepest, most intimate thoughts with those we love?"

"We don't write letters anymore." Bah! Who says? Personally, I write more letters now than I ever did in the past--only the mode of their transportation has changed. And ok, so I don't use paper stationery. But I'll tell you one thing I do-- I save the most meaningful, touching emails I receive. I print them out (sometimes on special computer stationery), trim the edges with my Victorian-edged scissors, then place them, folded, inside my current diary.

You should see my last few diaries... interwoven amongst their pages are those special emails and also post cards and theater tickets and gift bookmarks and newspaper clippings, photos and who knows what else. My diaries are my scrapbooks, the collections of the paper-thin memories and highlights of my days, both ordinary and extra-special. In fact, I dare you to look through my diary-scrapbooks fifty years from now and not feel as though you are holding a fun piece of old-fashioned history, the same way you would feel now, today, if you were to look through such a diary from the 1930's, with my printed-out email and all.

Why must some people (notice I did not say 'all') see today as being not nearly as good as yesterday? Is there some kind of a film over our eyes when we cannot glimpse the good in things which appear a bit different, a little tweaked because of time and change, but are, in reality, just as good or maybe even better than their earlier counterpart? Why is a new package so often perceived as a bad one?

Well anyway, to satisfy my own curiosity, I'd like to ask you, my readers, Do you ever save your email? And while I'm at it, Are you writing more 'letters' today than you were before you went online?

Please assure me I'm not the only one who is saving my memories for those who will someday look through my closets for treasure.

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