Barry Smith: Irrelativity
August 17, 2009
Dear Barry Smith,It’s me, Barry Smith – the guy who occasionally gets work-related e-mails intended for you. As you know, each time this happens I dutifully forward each e-mail on to you AND everyone who was copied, along with my detailed explanation of the mistake and instructions on how to differentiate your address from mine. Basically, “Hey, everybody, I’m a different Barry Smith, but the way to find the Barry Smith you’re looking for is by typing etc. …”The reason, of course, is that my e-mail is email@example.com, whereas yours is barry@barryMIDDLEINITIALsmith.com. I’m keeping the MIDDLE INITIAL secret to protect your identity, since I’m not only sending you this letter, I’m also publishing it as my weekly newspaper column. And yes, I had PLENTY of other column ideas.Anyway, I’m starting to realize that drawing the distinction between these two e-mail addresses is really more your job than mine. I doubt that anyone is mistakenly adding a MIDDLE INITIAL to e-mails meant for me and therefore coming to you. There’s no give and take here, Barry Smith.Obviously this arrangement reached an all-time low when I had to forward on an e-mail from your own wife. This is worth repeating – YOUR WIFE SENT ME AN E-MAIL INTENDED FOR YOU! I’m starting to think you may not be pulling your weight in the campaign to educate people about the unique MIDDLE INITIAL in your URL. I think it’s time to admit that this relationship (yours and mine) is just not working. I take full responsibility. I’ve let it go on way too long. The wife e-mail was a few months back. I should have ended it then. But I kept looking the other way because, well … it’s the name thing.I mean – you’re Barry Smith. That’s so weird. I know it’s no picnic being Barry Smith. I, like you, have been one my whole life. It’s a terribly generic name, just a few short alphabetical strides from John Smith. We’ve been dealt a cruel blow by our parents, and our culture, and the fact that we get the juvenile thrill of writing “BS” when asked to initial a legal document hardly lessens the blow. I guess I felt some sort of kinship with you because of your Barry Smith-ness. I assumed you’d be something like me – how could you NOT be? But I took it a step farther. I assumed you’d only be like the BEST parts of me. Yes, I idealized you, Barry Smith, and that clouded my judgment. Maybe I set the bar too high for you. The Barry Smith that I’d like to think I am (in other words, the one I thought YOU were) would have shown a bit more love for my constant forwarding process. Sure, I recall a brief “thanks” from months ago, maybe one more at some other point, but this has been going on for at least a year! Even a hastily typed “thx” after my weekly forwarding sessions would have been a nice acknowledgment. I mean, Dude, I’ve been forwarding your business e-mails to you for a year! Don’t you think I read these e-mails? They’re all like, “Hey, Barry Smith, I’m ready to do this big deal with you, a deal that will earn you far more in a week than, say, some lame-ass Barry Smith who writes a newspaper column will ever hope to see in a year’s time. And all you have to do to receive this mountain of cash is reply to this e-mail.” I sent that stuff on, no questions asked, week after week. You should be freakin’ sending me chocolates!And – here’s the kicker – you’re the one with the crappy MIDDLE INITIAL URL! Did you shell out a butt-load of money so you could get the barrysmith.com WITHOUT the MIDDLE INITIAL? No! I did! You went for the low-budget Barry MIDDLE INITIAL Smith version. So why am I suddenly your personal secretary! And never, never have you said anything like, “Hey, sorry, I’ll make an effort to tell people about the middle initial.” NO! In fact, the very first thing I heard from you, after forwarding on e-mail number one, was, “Yeah, that’ll probably happen a lot.”Well, you were right. It happens a lot. And you don’t seem to care. But from now on I’ll be telling my troubles to Mr. Delete Key. You and I, Barry Middle Initial Smith, are through.You might want to look into barryMIDDLEINITIALsmith@yahoo.com
Barry’s column appears Mondays in The Aspen Times. Read more at http://www.barrysmith.com.
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