Jewish World Review June 8, 2006 / 12 Sivan 5766

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Consumer Reports

Cleaning out the email attic | This past Sunday, I finally got into the mixed pile of trash and treasure that I hadn't had the nerve not time to throw away. Not that I wanted to, but I had used up every excuse I could think of not to go through what I had saved and the wife said there was so much junk in there she had no room for the gorgeous picture of a sunrise over the Arctic that her sister had just sent her. Besides, I had saved so many files, DSL was taking an hour to download the Pizza Hut pop up.

It's kind of scary facing what seemed an overwhelming task that you had put off for years, but it does have its upside. Going through old email is like visiting a bunch of old friends; old friends you no longer need to actually talk to since you have email. I almost forgot how important they were when I first received them, and now, how important they still could be. Who knew when one of the tens of thousands of important, um, things, I had stockpiled might come in handy.

  • Unbelievable poems set against pictures of children. Gorgeous children. You can't just throw away children. And what about the thousands of cute things they say? "Invisible under G-d." Precious.

  • Nigerian widow partnerships, Bill Gates cash offers and complimentary Mrs Fields cookie recipes. What about the $50 thou a month working from home or the free plasma TV that's "waiting for me" as soon as I fill out the eight or nine hundred personal profiles?

  • Quips of the Day that supplies me with a diverse collection of great jokes I could tell to friends if and when I ever actually speak to one.

  • If I'm really strapped I don't want to have to search all over the place to find that medical school that pays $80,000 for the donation of a single testicle. Who knows how many times I could collect on that one.

  • The thousand of words I stored from my daily Doctor Dictionary will be invaluable when I get to memorizing them. Wait till I use gimcrack, inchoate or sinecure in a job interview. That'll cinch it, if I can ever find the time to check the want-ads at Craigslist.

  • My seven-year old nephew's 3rd birthday picture. Deleting that is like deleting deceased people from your address book. It's akin to killing them...again.

  • The confirmation of Pepsi-cola's hatred of Israel. Or was it Coke? See, you don't want throw away these things in case you have to check which soda is anti-Semetic.

  • The email I got by mistake from "The Desk of Colin Powell" or the genuine response I received from my congratulations I sent to Brittany Spears on the birth of her first baby. Her secretary thanked me and sent a picture of Brittany with Sean in the car. Adorable.

  • While we're at war, I would be undermining our men and women in harm's way if I didn't keep that email that reminded me that Target Stores does not contribute to veterans' causes, is French-owned, does not contribute to the Marines' 'Toys for Tots' program and doesn't allows reservist employees called to active duty to continue their health benefits. Thank G-d for the Internet...and Walmart.

  • Pictures of people who look like their dogs, the amazing watermelon sculptures and that eye of G-d in the storm are classics, but no more than that cruise ship they caught floating down Madison Ave, the lady with the head of a deer or the eight hundred pound siamese cat. How do the newspapers miss this stuff?

  • Business cards at such great saving that it almost seems a waste not to go into business. Okay, you have to pay pretty hefty postage, but even if you don't have an actual occupation it does validate your very existence. And if I ever want to do that, I know just where to go.

  • No way I can delete all the URGENT!!!!!!, WARNING!!!!!!, IMPORTANT!!!!!!,VIRUS ALERT!!!!!! emails.

  • Way too many exclamation marks to ignore. And what about "THIS IS NOT A HOAX!!!!? I mean, how could it be a hoax? It even says it isn't. I would be reckless not to keep and continue to forward these to the many people are depending on me to do so.

  • Probably no more important is the possibility that I could wake up one morning and sense that one or more of my appendages aren't a large as I'd like. You just have to be ready.

How do you delete any of these invaluable resources? And I haven't even started on the 15,000 "SENT" emails. You just can't trash a paper trail, can you?

Wow, look how late it's getting.

Maybe, better I should just get another attic.


JWR contributor Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," and can be heard on Los Angeles's KTLK AM 1150, Saturdays 1-4 PM. Blog at Comment by clicking here.


© 2004, Steve Young