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September 18, 2016 / thackersam

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no-reply-allSomebody, just the other day, did one of those stupid email things, in which said person should not have forwarded my email to others without forewarning. I could have said – wait a minute, can you just delete that part. I didn’t call the president of the company a dickwad or anything like that, plus the forwarder wrote so much before it, the receivers would be fast asleep before they got to my message. But it was one of those – oh, why did you have to go and do that – moments.

And that made me think of my beloved friend Vicki. Now there was a woman who should have had her reply all button permanently disconnected. Had she really needed to reply all, she would have had to do it the hard way, prompting her to think first. She told me once of a time that she replied to an email from a PTA member to other members and referred to one of the mothers, who was indeed part of the group that received the message, as tiresome (I believe the chosen word was “tiresome” although it could have been something a bit stronger, but not to the “asshole” extent). And of course, she hit reply all without realizing it. I don’t recall the aftermath, but it couldn’t have been pleasant.

For me, she caused some embarrassment when she forwarded an email that shouldn’t nor needn’t have been forwarded, to a friend of hers. I quite like this woman now, have for a long time, and should really give her a call, but initially when she came to work for me as a seasonal writer, I did not care too much for her. It took us all a little bit to get used to her, including my one permanent staff person and other seasonal writer, at that time. I wanted her to come back to work for me the following year and could not find her personal email address. Thus, my email to Vicki. But the email included more than just the request. I told Vicki a story I’m not particularly proud of, but still laugh when telling it.

It was a few years ago when my office was on Wall Street and my tiny department was relegated to three cubbies in a row on the 5th floor. Mine was by the window with my one permanent (and invaluable, I may add) staff person in front of me and our seasonal writer at the desk at the front of the line. I hired Vicki’s friend as a second seasonal writer and due to the lack of space, she was seated at a small desk near the kitchen, out of our view. We didn’t get along well and her squinting at her computer screen reminded me of Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella character from the early Saturday Night Live days. I shared this with my other two people who, being Generation Xers, delighted in their new discovery. Yes, we poked fun at Vicki’s friend behind her back, but luckily, that part was not in the email.

One day I’m sitting at my desk with my fake walls and the window at my back, when someone snuck up behind me and shook my chair. I turned around, but there was no one there. Poltergeists, was my next thought, which quickly turned to something’s up. Someone called out – Did anyone feel that? Only a few of us had and knew it was something. Others, like my staff were unaware. But when I saw that there was no construction going on downstairs that could cause the shaking, I told my staff that we were going down to the lobby, where Ari, the building’s front desk manager and terminal flirt, would undoubtedly know what was going on. Minor earthquake, it turned out. This is New York. We have other things to worry about than earthquakes, but I’d never felt one before, nor since, and though it lasted a nanosecond for me, it was pretty creepy.

I boasted to Ari about what a good boss I was, getting my staff to safety even though we took the elevator down (I swear, I didn’t think of that until we were in the elevator). The smile on my face suddenly dropped to an expression of dismay. “I’m a very bad boss,” I lamented looking at my one permanent staff member and my one seasonal writer, and we all doubled over with laughter, again at Vicki’s friend’s expense, me still bemoaning what a horrible manager I was. Poor Ari had to wait till one of us could stop laughing long enough to tell him what was going on.

We all forgot about her, but it was my responsibility. Fortunately, she was among those who hadn’t felt a thing, and was none the wiser that we had abandoned her. I will say that the incident softened me toward her and I developed a certain fondness for her.

No thanks to Vicki and her poor email habits though. In this case, had she hit reply all instead of adding her friend’s email address, it would have worked out better. I never knew if her friend read my email, or if it bothered her. It was never brought up. It did cause Vicki to get pissed at me for being pissed at her. But that was Vicki, and while I will forever be pissed at her for dying, I wish she was still around for me to get pissed at for the other things, though I’d probably insist that she only be allowed to email in the company of someone in authority.

BTW – I’m a pretty steady 142lbs right now and intend to be securely under 140 by the time I need to make the many batches of bourbon balls that have been requested, which I start rolling each year during the Thanksgiving holiday and eat too many of. Very glad indeed that my friend who runs a bar in Chelsea is safe.

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