cc Writer September 3, 1997
Dear Dr. Max,
I am a 32-year-old male living and working in a suburb of Baltimore. I'm having a serious communication problem that I hope you can help me with. I've tried every trick in the book, but I just can't get this monkey off my back. My problem is that every time I send an email to someone, I involuntarily CC my mom. I use e-mail a lot at work, but it doesn't matter whom I'm sending a message to; The intended recipient may be a coworker, my supervisor, or even a valuable client. But every time I reach for that "Send" button, some inner force whips my hands into place and types, "email@example.com" in the CC field..
I'm fairly certain that my mom is not behind this. In fact, she has changed her email address several times at my request. But the hands know. Sometimes they will even go so far as to type in her home page address at the bottom of the message (http://www.carolshouseofsin.com).
It's gotten to the point that my colleagues have asked me, "who was that other person CCed on the email?" I find myself making up lame excuses like, "Oh that's a consultant that will be working with us on this project" or "It's my personal email address, and I wanted to work on this at home". But I'm beginning to feel like my excuses and cover-ups are becoming transparent, thus endangering how others perceive my competency as a business professional. What is driving this strange phenomenon and why is it so forceful? What must I do to sever this digital umbilical cord?
Henry!![not his real name]
What on earth are you doing airing your dirty laundry to this total stranger? Good heavens. I wish you'd never started using that computer of yours to send email. Dr. Max, you would not believe the strange and annoying letters which Henry copies me on. It's so embarassing! Beyond that, I'm starting to wonder if he really works where he says he works. How can he get anything done with all those notes he passes back and forth? How do any of those people manage? I guess I just don't understand this so-called "service economy." Heck, I can't even find a full service filling station any more. Half of what he sends me is [made up of] those Internet stories. You know the ones I'm talking about. They say something like, "please forward this email to as many people as possible so little Timothy Johnson of Oscaluga, Maryland can get his last dying wish of being included in the Guinness Book of [World] Records for starting the most urban myths." The rest of what he sends me is sickening examples of inter-office back-stabbing, buck-passing, and a**-kissing.
Try this. Buy your mother an email program which has in it a "Bozo filter." Be a good son and offer to install it for her. Insist, if you have to! Then, enter yourself as the first "Bozo."
Don't get smart, Dr. Smarty Farts!
- Dr. Max
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