Barry Smith: Irrelativity
November 16, 2009
I can’t seem to let this Other Barry Smith thing go, and I think it’s a direct result of unsupervised free time.
Just to catch you up: About a year ago I coughed up way too much money to get my own personal URL – barrysmith.com. Hooray for me and my shrewd financial decisions.
Shortly after my big purchase I start getting e-mails meant for a different Barry Smith, one who had spent substantially less money to get HIS own personal URL – barryMIDDLEINITIALsmith.com.
At first I’m kind and thoughtful and send these e-mails back to the sender, explaining the error. I CC Middle Initial each time to let him know what’s happening. He sends me back a dismissive e-whatever, and his e-mails keep showing up at my e-door. Soon it dawns on me that I’ve become his personal secretary, and he’s obviously fine with this.
I write a (hilarious) column about this, declaring that I will no longer be his e-mail forwarding bitch. I send him a copy. No reply.
The Middle Initial work e-mails keep pouring in. I delete them. This is no big deal, right? I mean, I told him in so many words (723, actually) that I’m done. So now I can delete without guilt.
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But the thrilling lure of immaturity always gets the better of me.
Just last week I get an e-mail that says, “Hey, Barry, blah blah work-related stuff, blah blah, ready to move ahead on this project, need your approval ASAP!”
I know what to do – hit delete, get on with my glorious day. Right? But this day I have a revelation …
This e-mail is written to Barry Smith, and I’M Barry Smith, so why not just, you know, reply?
I write: “I’m not sure this is what I had in mind. Call me at once! Cordially, Barry.”
The next day I get a similar project-related urgent e-mail from someone else. I reply, “This doesn’t look like what we discussed. You need to call me right away! Barry.”
A new e-mail, a new reply, “I have no idea what any of this means! Call me so we can avoid these mistakes in the future! Barry.”
And on and on I go. Quite a rush, really.
The way I see it, all of those statements are true and are not, you know, legally actionable or anything. I mean, it’s me, Barry, and I truly have “no idea what any of this means” and don’t think it “looks anything like we discussed.”
This is so cool! It’s like I get to be me … in disguise! Hello next year’s Halloween costume.
My hope is that if enough people start calling up Mr. Middle Initial in a “You’ll hear from my lawyers” panic, then he’ll put a little more umph into telling people about that cut-rate, ghetto MIDDLE INITIAL URL of his. I can see him now, sitting at his big, occupation-appropriate desk thinking, “Gee, that’s the third call I’ve gotten this week from someone who didn’t have my e-mail address right. Maybe that Barry NO MIDDLE INITIAL Smith guy has a point. I need to really get the word out.”
Of course, I’m sure he’s actually thinking, “Jeez, what an a#$hole. Just hit delete, for God’s sake, like the rest of us do when we get unwanted e-mails. And get a freakin’ hobby.”
And he kinda has a point, imaginary or not. To delete an e-mail takes all of 3 seconds, and that’s if I go slow. To send a prank e-mail back to the person requires not only composing a clever reply, but also logging on to my web-based e-mail server to make sure that the e-mail originates … whatever … it takes about a minute. A full 60 seconds. Can you imagine what this adds up to over time? I mean, if I do this five times a week that’s like … exactly. A lot. A whole lot.
I should probably get a handle on this soon, as there are at least 25 other Barry Smiths with middle initials out there just waiting to piss me off, and, as much as I’d appreciate getting 25 more columns out of this, there’s only so much time in the day.
(To be continued … eventually … unfortunately …)
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