|This picture has very little to do with this post|
This morning, I happened to look into the junk mail folder of my mail program, and I found an email from a friend that he had sent two months ago. TWO MONTHS! And I'd been wondering why I hadn't heard from him, and he wondered the same thing about me. Here we were, sitting on opposite sides of the Valley, feeling like we had unwittingly offended the other (else they'd be writing, wouldn't they?), when all along it was Thunderbird, maliciously holding on to the message which could have kept our email exchange humming along happily all summer.
It's rather like the ballad of the prince who was going to swim the deep waters to meet the princess on the other side, but the malicious enchantress (or nun, depending on the version) blows out the candle the princess put in the window for him to see by, and he drowns. Oh tragedy. He probably lost his hair net in the water, too. But no, actually, that story isn't quite right (and not just cause I ain't no prince swimmin' for no princess, neither). The one I'm thinking of is where the malicious enchantress withholds the letter that would have made everything well. Othello? No, that involves a stolen hanky, in addition to lots of maliciousness. Wait, Romeo and Juliet! That's got a missing letter in it, I think. But no maliciousness, at least not in the communications mishap, just lots of silliness. Ah, well, I can't think of the specific example right now, but there's probably a Shakespeare version of it, whatever it is, as well as a Brothers Grimm story (which are, let me assure you, often quite grim. Red-hot shoes for dancing in, anyone?).
So, I'm quite convinced that the internet, specifically email programs and social media software, is, deep down, a malicious plotter which is out to mess up our friendships. It makes us THINK it delivered the message, but meanwhile, on the other end, it's surreptitiously marking our mail as junk and throwing it in the recycling bin with all the tin cans with crusty tomato sauce on the inside and last week's advertising fliers. It's only by a fluke that you'll ever find it again, when you're digging through the bin for the receipt you chucked in there that you now absolutely have to have or you won't be able to get back your money on those ugly shoes you bought on impulse the day before yesterday. At the bottom of the recycling bin, there's the message from your friend. And suddenly, all becomes clear - it wasn't that he was too offended or too sick or too busy to write, it was the internet's fault. Curse you, malicious software!
Life, the Universe, and Friendship-sabotaging Software. Beware the malice of the internet!