Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Inbox

As I have been doing some serious electronic aerobics (that don't count as Weight Watchers activity points, darn it) these past few weeks, my original foray into the world of electronic communication - my AOL account - has rivaled my plants for the title of "most neglected." I thought...hey...I'll clean out my inbox and see if that qualifies as housework (since I've pretty much neglected that as well.) I mean, it's only been a few days, right?

OMG. I have eighty gazillion messages to sort through.

See, what I have done in my ignorance of how these things SHOULD work is put everything in one place. That "everything" includes Twitter responses, eBay, PayPal, Facebook, the blog, AND the junk e-mail that I used to actually find somewhat interesting because I wasn't tweeting, selling, and finding friends on Facebook.

At the time I signed up for all of this crap, I was actually able to handle things fairly well and just check my mail a couple of times a week.

I'm so over my e-mail account.

And, unfortunately, I cannot for the life of me remember what to do to undo all of the junk e-mail because I'd rather be doing anything else (except cleaning, cooking, or doing anything remotely domestic, that is).

Things that are probably interesting to someone are there like...$39 airfare to Seattle from Atlanta. (Like I care...thanks anyway, Delta.) Offers from KFC to try their "grilled" chicken. (Sorry, I haven't trusted you since you started being in denial that the "F" in your name originally stood for "fried.") Tips from Tide, Campbell's Soup, and Pledge. (Like I clean).

And then there's the hemmoroid of the At some weak moment, I actually signed up for this "mother" of all annoying websites so that I could earn points to try to get back over to Europe to see my sister. Thirty six quizzes and two hundred seventy clicks later...I have earned 85 points. It takes something like 2,500,000,000 points to actually earn a trip...and then it's probably a domestic flight. I need international.

After realizing that I would be spending about eight hours a day on this thing if I answered every request from the pit bulls at, I just eventually had to vote "no". I just decided that if I could ever get the unlikely trifecta of time off, decent exchange rate, and money to go...I'd just have to jump on it. I elected to just owe Capital One until 2048 instead. It would probably take me until that year to earn enough stupid points anyway...and in punting them, I would retain the added bonus of having what is commonly known as "a life."

I get monthly statements from American Airlines (although my frequent flyer miles expired and they find it necessary to report to me quite frequently that I have a zero balance), I'm on the e-mail list of every travel site known to man, and I get reminders from UPromise to do this or that every week.

I'd actually go onto the UPromise website and see if I can figure out how to get the $8 or whatever I've saved over the past ten years shopping at CVS to send to Jill, but I can't remember the password. I mean...I established the account in something like 1994. I can't remember what I did three days you can well imagine that something fifteen years ago is a total loss. I tried to use the clue - the dog's name - but I don't remember which dog that might have been: Hannah, Harley, Rebel, or Dixie...but because I guessed wrong at least twice, I now have to call their stupid customer service line to reset my user ID and password again. They'll give me a password that has letters and numbers so that it is "foolproof" for scammers. I miss the days of using "password" as the password. I'm from the generation where they put our social security numbers to post grades and remember a time when you didn't have to have a pair of scissors or a hacksaw to open a bottle of Tylenol. Whatever.

Am I alone in this?

Somewhere in the midst of all of this e-crap, I found two things that I didn't know about or remember and were somewhat important: an e-mail from my sister, Lara, and an e-mail from work that I forwarded home to post here at some point. The rest of it is like the Victoria's Secret catalogs that come into this house every day that are promptly delivered to the big green trash can outside along with the Pizza Hut coupons, offers for life insurance for $2.99 a month, an invitation to join the AARP and J.C. Penney ads.

Oh, and the fact that I have a self-directed IRA means that this is the season of the "annual report" as required by the various SEC (and I don't mean Southeastern Conference) regulations. Apparently I needed this reminder that I made no money for my retirement account last year. Plus, I get the added bonus of seeing the little weasels that made stupid decisions in the various companies in slick glossy color. Well, at least those organizations that our illustrious President hasn't taken it upon himself to oust the leadership of personally...yet.

The lone exception...which was primarily purchased to spite my father...was my stock in McDonald's. This is a blessing because - as a banker - I actually owned a fair amount of bank stock (did you catch the use of the past tense there....) My rebellion in purchasing MCD was rooted in frustration that we were banned from there during my childhood because the McDonald's organization gave money to Richard Nixon and the Republican Party during Watergate.

So what. I just wanted a hamburger. Viva McDonald's! (Do not get me started on the Viva Viagra commercials...or we could be here all night...) I correctly assumed that no matter how bad the economy was...people are still going to line up for their Big Macs and Happy Meals. We grow cellulite in the U.S. like nobody's business.

Even though the latter - the "Happy Meal" has been tainted with "healthy" alternatives for little children to eat. This does not make me happy. Why not just call it a "Healthy Meal" instead of a "Happy Meal" because it is impossible to be both. I mean, some people can fake it...but trust me...waive a Krispy Kreme around, and even the biggest health nut on earth will at least think about it. Apples and yogurt in a "Happy Meal." Puleeze. Kids need a certain amount of unhealthy food. Not much...but a little bit. I suppose it is a cruel twist of fate that the kids eat their little "Healthy Meals" masquerading as "Happy Meals" and then crawl all over the unsanitized "Playland" for hours and then put their hands in their mouths. Yeah.

But back to my piles (and I see a correlation here...) also include about sixty-five Visa and Mastercard offers that come into this house every day that have to be transported to work to be shredded. Ironically, the "shred container" at work is a big green trash can...with a padlock and a hole in the top. I guess that's pretty hysterical...can't you see THAT meeting?

BOSS: Does anyone have a good idea for a way that we could have the on-site storage remain protected but yet still be cost effective until we can pick it up and shred on-site?

UNDERLING: Well, we could put little shredders on everyone's trashcan...

BOSS: No! We want to charge something astronomical for the service. We need something that holds a lot of trash, is easy to transport, and something that people would actually view as a waste recepticle...I'm thinking...anyone...(Bueller?)

UNDERLING: We could use a big green trash can and put a slot in the top and secure it with a padlock...

BOSS: Brilliant!

Thank heavens for my job at a bank. Free shred service. I must put three hundred pounds of crap in there a month.

Oh...and as I do...don't I long for things to have relevance. I'd love to just log onto my e-mail account and find nothing but totally cool e-mails. OH but no...I'm tagged for "Beautiful Women's Month" - which apparently occurs non-stop and messages about how we are turning into a socialist nation. I get enough of that from Mark Levin on the drive home.

Guess that's why I love Facebook so much. Amid the quizzes, the comments about the weather and work frustrations, I see something of beautiful new babies born this week, the sweet faces of old friends that will always have a place in my heart, the hysterical ramblings of people who have to write or explode, and sometimes just a thumbs up or a comment that lets me know that someone actually took the time to look at something I've written or shared.

Yep, we all do need affirmation, don't we? I suppose I'd just like a little less of it from Victoria's Secret, Shoe Station, Visa, L.L. Bean,, Delta, Mastercard, Swifter, Ann Taylor, and American Express. They seem to be quite aware of my existence.


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