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Bob Franken

Bob Franken

Posted: September 15, 2009 09:42 AM

The Real Meaning of the Email

What's Your Reaction?

Even though we've moved way beyond emails with texting, instant messages, Twitter, Facebook and what have you, emails are still in play. But we have never understood what they really say.

So as another in my series of vital public services, I am interpreting the language of electronic mail... what the words actually mean:

"Dear Jim: I hope you are well"
("Actually, I couldn't care less. This is about me")

"I thought it was time to catch up"
("Why the hell haven't you answered my previous emails")

"I'd love to get together to bounce some ideas off of you"
("I am desperate for a job. Can we please talk?")

"I've been meaning to get in touch since we had that tremendous conversation at the professional conference"
("You might not remember a thing about it because you were totally wasted")

"I came away thinking this is somebody I need to meet with again"
("Actually it was a good thing you were drunk most the time, because sober, you're a crashing bore. The truth is I came away thinking I would forever avoid you like the plague. But I had a job then. My standards are in the toilet now" )

"I've attached my resume"
("Which should get a Pulitzer Prize for fiction")

"And nothing would please me more than meeting you for lunch."
("That and being water boarded.)"

Warmest Regards"
("Answer my damned email")

"John Doe CEO, FSE"
("Chief Executive Officer, Face Saving Entity")

On rare occasions the recipient will condescend to send a reply:

"John: Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner"
("I was hoping if I ignored you, you'd give up and go away")"

"Of course I remember you"
(It took awhile to even find you on Google, but I finally did")

"Thanks for your resume"
("You're too old.")

"It would be great to see you"
("Nearly as great as getting a serious case of the Asian Flu")

"Unfortunately, money is tight right now so I have no openings"
("You're too expensive. Experience doesn't matter")"

"So let's hold off on a meeting"
("They've gutted my department with layoffs and I don't have time to go to the bathroom, much less lunch")

"I'll get back to you when an appropriate position opens up that utilizes your special talents"
("That will be a cold day in Hell")

"Jim Smith
VP"
("I have a job and you don't")
"Colossus Corp"
("Saved from collapse by the federal government")

Wait. The phony dance isn't over:

"Jim"
("Jerk")

"Thanks for your consideration"
("I'm dying out here")

"Let's stay in touch"
("I won't waste any more of my time")

"Best"
("May you rot in hell")
"John"

Ah, but this story has a happy ending.

"Dear John"
("Old buddy, old friend")

"Remember me? I have just been informed my company is undergoing a downsizing and my position has been eliminated. We should have lunch.

Best,

Jim Smith
Consultant"
(No translation needed)

"Please note my new E-mail address"

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