I used to get letters in the mail. Some were from my parents. My sister wrote funny letters from the places in the world where she was living. My favorite letters were from my friends. I admired their cute stationery (well, in my Mom’s case, her grocery list paper), their different cursive styles, and the different commemorative stamps. I felt special! I also received quite a few love letters from a man who was destined to marry me and play the accordion, unfortunately not in that order.
These days, the mail man brings stuff like bills. I get a lot of brochures from people who want to fertilize my bushes and clean my gutters. Instead of all those juicy letters I used to get from family and friends, I now get emails.
I classify my emails into categories. In the first category are “friends and family.” These are always welcome. I love getting YouTube videos, updates on babies and who is having gall bladder surgery.
Category two? “The chains.” Someone, somewhere, got the idea that people just love being told how wonderful they are. In these emails, the recipient is buttered up in no uncertain terms, and then instructed to forward this same email on to ten worthy individuals who urgently need buttering. I send these to my friends to annoy them.
The third category is the most interesting. Most people call this category “Spam.” Spam emails are my favorites! For example, just this week, I have been approached by a group who wants to get “like minded single blacks” together. I am not sure whether they want to get African Americans together who think like me or what. Any group of African Americans who think like me, an aging white American, would be sort of pitiful. They would not know how to dance, they would be confused about rap music lyrics, and they would have no idea who Lil Wayne is. This is not a group destined for success. And if the purpose of that email was to drum up “like minded” blacks who are nothing like me, then why did I get it in the first place, I wonder?
I have also started getting a cluster of emails concerning acne. I have never written a pimply column, to my knowledge. Nor have I tweeted about blemishes. I have not had a pimple since the night before the senior prom, so I wonder how I got in this particular demographic. But I love these Spams; they make me feel so young!
The final category is perhaps my most favorite, because there are people in Sumatra, Thailand, Columbia, and Tampa Florida who either want me as a business partner, because they have read so much about me and admire my acumen, or want to let me know that somehow my name is affixed to a large bank account in a city whose name I can’t spell, like Muzkaqisiklorn. These people want to assure me that they are on the up and up, and I can totally trust them.
I have an old box of monogrammed stationery. I wonder if I should write a nice note to the pimple people as a thank you for making me feel like a teenager again. I don’t think any of my potential business partners need a bread and butter note. As for the like minded African Americans, well, one of them might actually need a pen pal!