Freeman

ARTICLE

Who Put the E in E-Mail?

Email Actually Provides What Government Mail Can't

SEPTEMBER 01, 1996 by A.M. ROGERS

Ms. Rogers is an attorney in Ormond Beach, Florida.

I’m Enthusiastic about mail. I’m like the woman the Essayist J.B. Priestley wrote about who would have committed suicide Except she was Expecting a letter in the next day’s post.

I not only love mail but I’m also a fervent Epistolarian. An Ever-diminishing breed, I know. Nonetheless, my Christmas cards were in the mail in Early December Each with a personal handwritten letter. No computer-generated replications for me. The reason for getting them out Early was to motivate less Enthusiastic writers. It was also to Ensure they’d have sufficient time to prepare their own Excellent compositions. Alas. Most cards I received were note-less. The remaining had a “to whom it may concern” biographical summation of the year’s events. Bold, slashing brushstrokes, true, but lacking the details that make a picture interesting, not to mention Entertaining. Afterwards, I felt like the woman who considered committing suicide . . . though this time with no hope of any future mail. My vision was of a mailbox forever Empty.

E-mail then Entered my life.

Though hardly an Explorer, I had no choice. It became apparent that if I was to increase the pathetic flow of my mail, I was going to have to Evolve. I was going to have to Expand my horizons. I was going to have to get Electronic. The occasional letters I received from a law school friend who had written despite moves from Massachusetts to North Carolina to Mississippi in barely a half dozen years had Ended altogether when she went on line. It had reached the point that the only person who wrote to me regularly was my mother. I had been getting America On Line’s disks in the mail. I finally installed one in my home computer.

The installation part was Easy and took about five minutes. Learning the E-mail how-tos was another matter. Evidentially, you click on “compose mail.” But figuring out my E-mail address was the first problem (it’s your America On Line name in small letters without spaces, followed by “@aol.com”). The second problem was how to send it. My husband who is a far more proficient hacker than I am kept proclaiming this whole E-mail business a cinch and then proceeded to send several files of Johnny Depp our daughter had downloaded into the computer along with our E-mail letter to one of my friends. Eventually we figured it out.

Now Each workday, I come home for lunch and retrieve my mail at the mailbox and if there’s nothing there, who cares? Because the next thing I do, Even before preparing lunch, is to log on to America On Line. My computer is as Elated as I am. “You’ve got mail,” it announces.

And I do.

I get mail almost Every day. Enjoyable mail. I write to my law school friend in Mississippi and she writes back almost Every day. My sister-in-law in Ohio writes to me from work during her lunch hour and I write back during mine. And my nephew has E-mailed me from California.

Though E-mail doesn’t have as much spontaneity as the telephone, it certainly has more spontaneity than regular mail. Sometimes I send a letter in the morning before I leave for work and come back home for lunch to find the answer. It’s possible to write back and forth as many times a day or night as you’d like. It is less costly than a stamp and more Economical than a phone call. For America On Line’s approximately $10 a month charge, you can send Endless E-mails. Not Enough reasons for you? There are more. You choose the time to retrieve your messages and you choose the time to send them. No more meals interrupted by phone calls. You’re in control now.

And glory bE! You can Even get mail on Sundays.

Isn’t it Exciting? Technology will do what so many of us have wanted and what the post office had promised. A mail not delayed by rain or sleet or snow. An Electronic mailman who delivers mail to us mail-lovers Each and Every second of the day.

Eureka!

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

September 1996

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