Remember Juno? Not the movie about a pregnant teenager. I’m talking about the mid-90’s email phenomenon, wherein a user would periodically dial-up their inboxes on a FREE account and check their non-attachment bearing, no-bigger-than-35-kilobyte messages. Juno was the first chance many average American families had to access the wonders of email in their own homes. As long as you had a computer and a telephone line, you had email. Uh-mazing.

The funny thing is, I don’t recall anyone questioning whether email was actually something we wanted. I just remember wanting it, needing it,  knowing we couldn’t afford AOL, agonizing that all my friends were visiting new places called “chat rooms” and doing exciting things like “IMing”. I knew getting to talk to nameless strangers at all hours of the day and night was something only the lucky (and wealthy) few could enjoy. But email? FREE email?! I could do that.

Oh, youth.

I’d give almost anything to eradicate the need for email in my life. There are few things more frustrating than cleaning out one’s inbox, only to have it stuffed with scores of new messages, most of which are pure garbage, in a matter of a few hours. My fragile, neatnick, and hyper-organized psyche doesn’t do well with that sort of thing. Bad enough I can never seem to keep my house or my office as clutter free as I’d like.  I can forgive myself this mess (to a degree) given how stupid busy I am most days. But, in an environment where all I have to do is push “delete” to make the offending debris magically disappear, I allow myself no excuse.

Then, there’s the expectation that we all sit around waiting for new messages to appear, that our lives are somehow as empty as our mailboxes and we have nothing else to do but immediately respond to any mundane correspondence that comes our way. Not to mention the fact that it’s often more efficient to “shoot off an email” asking for answers rather than to go looking for whatever information it is we need.  This means, a large part of my day goes something like this:

What homework is due?

– It’s in the syllabus.

How long should our chapter responses be?

– It’s IN the syllabus.

I wasn’t aware we had an attendance policy…

– IT’S IN…THE…SYLLABUS!! Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop emailing me for obvious shit and then emailing again, wondering why I haven’t responded to your previous email, when the information was easily available to you this entire time and it’s only been 1 hour since your first email! >*&*%!(@!I@(!*#&!*%!!!!!

So in closing, email, that promise of tomorrow, blesses our todays with clutter, impatience, and sloth. Thanks for that.