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Delete Before Reading Robert Sheridan FawCawnahs bobsheridan@earthlink.net DBRs.

DBRs are Emails, or worse, sent in the hope they'll move you as much as they did the sender.

My sister was cleaning her garage to make room for her daughter's stuff, home from college. Found a lot of crap. From the place on StatNisland twenty-five years ago. Two choices: throw the crap out, or pack it in a box and send it to brother Bob across the country.

Guess which she chose.

I have, now, a box of broken glass candlesticks, and other equally worthwhile curios of no intrinsic, much less sentimental value.

You know how sentimental I am.

Did Sister No. 1 think to call to ask whether it would be a good idea to send forty pounds of ballast across country? No. Brother might have said please don't, give it to the church bazaar, or the flea market.

Sister No. 1 then sends a box of books to Sister No. 2.

Sister No. 2 says, "Hey, Bob, I wanna send you some books. I know you like books."

"What kind of books, I don't have room for any more books. I have boxes of books I've read I don't know how to get rid of. A thousand dollars worth of perfectly good books except for the occasional spaghetti sauce stain here and there."

She tells me the names of three books.

"I read that one when I was at Wagner, don't send that one," I tell her.

But I didn't read the other two, one about the OJ Simpson trial and the other on the origins of Irish surnames.

There are very good reasons I haven't read those books, but Sister No. 2 is a very nice person and if she wants to send me two books across country, how can I deny her the pleasure of trying to make me feel grateful. She thinks I will love her more for her thoughtfulness.

As soon as I hang up the phone, I want to call her back and say, "Hey, on second thought please don't send me those two books."

I know I won't read them.

But deep down I'm a chickensh*t softy and I don't call back and deprive her of all this pleasure she is going to get in wrapping that crap and getting it weighed and buying the postage and taking it to the post office or having the UPS show up to carry it across the entire U.S. of A.

It's taken me years to develop this crusty exterior, which is very self-protective armor but spotty, as in Achille's heel.

Two weeks go by and here arrive the books I don't want on OJ Simpson (the firing squad would be too good for him) and the one on the meaning and origin of goddam Irish surnames. Ditto as to that.

"Hey, Mom, guess what the girls have taken to doing, sending me crap via UPS. Any idea what's going on?"

Mom's in Florida so she doesn't have to put up with a lot of crap from people who want to send her things or make her do things.

The word "manipulative" was invented to describe the things some people in my family will do to get others to do that they want them to do but which the others do not wish to do, now or forever.

This may have something to do with the fact that we live on various coasts separated by a wonderful thing called "distance."

"Well, Linda was cleaning her garage because Kristin was coming home from college with a lot of her own junk so she needed room. Sent a lot of stuff to you and to Eileen."

"Thanks, Mom, I knew there had to be a reason I'm suddenly receiving Care Packages after thirty years of drought."

So now I have this stuff. In India they called this the Gift of the White Elephant. Not supposed to take it out and shoot it because of who the giver is. He, or in this case two shes, may come around and ask about it someday.

"The White Elephant got sick and died the day after you had it delivered," seems like a nice answer, but it doesn't work for a box of tchatchkes.

That's Old StatNislandese for lovely pieces of the sort of crap you display in your living room so the guests don't think you live in a barn. The cultural equivalent of a doily on the arm of the couch where you spilled the drink.

I'm thinking of sending a box of this stuff to you.

You know who you are.

On this website.

The good folk who continue to email me stuff I didn't ask for and you didn't ask if I wanted to read it. Even after I asked you not to do that any more.

I don't like to wait while it downloads. You sometimes include JPEG files that take even longer to download. Then I have to decide whether I want to open the JPEG file.

I don't want to open JPEG files. I don't want 'em. More processing time. Viruses. By the time I go through all of this, you could have sent me the Mona Lisa, the original, and I wouldn't want to look at it.

So what do I do.

DBR.

Right.

Delete Before Reading.

I have this theory.

If it's worth sending to me, it's worth your putting on this very website, otherwise it isn't and please don't send it.

If you put it on the website, we can read it or not as we wish. No hard feelings if we pass it by. No muss, no fuss.

I enjoy contributing to the website.

I put up my two cents worth and enjoy watching it get shot down, or whatever.

I don't bother people with emailed greeting cards, JPEGS, "Here look at this" hotlinks to other websites, etc., etc., that I didn't invite.

This way, the only way I bother you is with my opinions I put up here which you are free to ignore. There is no obligation to acknowledge or express gratitude for my having done so, such as with mail. You just go on your merry way, and so do I.

Nice, don't you think?

The next person who sends me long emails I don't ask for is going to receive two books. One is on the OJ trial and the other is on Irish surnames, which is a heavy book that even a hod-carrier would not enjoy lugging. An Irish hod-carrier.

If the email you send contains JPEG files, you're going to receive a forty pound box of Old StatNisland Memorabilia fresh from my sister Linda's garage, where it has been curing for decades before the excursion across country in a UPS van.

One other thing.

The more patriotic, or sentimental, or otherwise warm-and-fuzzy the thing is that you are moved to email me, the less it is apt to appeal to me.

I don't know why this should be. Perversity alone can't explain it. Mood may.

Just because you are moved to tears when sending, doesn't mean the recipient is in the same mood when receiving. I dunno why God arranged things like this. Maybe She wasn't thinking of Email at the time.

I know Moses wasn't when he brought the Ten Commandments down from the mountain.

Somewhere I heard a story that he dropped the third tablet and it broke. I know, we ignore the first ten recommendations, but the third tablet had the really good ones on it. The ones that applied to future developments, like,

"Don't Send Stuff Unless You're Asked or Lightning Will Smite Your Ass. Bigtime."

Fair warning, don't you think?

Ciao!

-rs




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