Saturday, July 26, 2008

Our little girl

Since I won’t be able to call Daughter Ann on her birthday, I’d better post this now.

Kathy and I were up early on July 27, 1972 since contractions seemed to be underway. We played cards for awhile—rummy or War, nothing too complicated. Then we left for the hospital around 8am. I had recently taught Kathy to play chess, so we brought a little traveling chess game and set up the board by her bed. The doctor thought we were crazy. We probably were, since we didn’t get very far with the game.

At some point Kathy told me since it was going to be a while that I should go for a walk or something and come back later. Well, I did. I drove over to a friend’s house and talked to him while he painted his front porch. All the while I was moving in a world without time, a world that was fundamentally changing. The air was charged with wonder and a sense that I was being carried along inexorably forward to a new place.

Back at the hospital, Daughter Ann was born at 3:55pm. Or was it 3:58pm? In any case, I wondered about the significance of the fact that the time of her birth was exactly twelve hours different from my own. Did that mean she would be directly opposite me in temperament or something? That little bit of numerology didn’t quite work out, since she is kind of more like me in some things.

I was very happy that we had our little girl. In those days, the only way to judge the gender of a baby was to go by the divinations of old wives and their tales. That is, you guessed. Some men would rather that their first born be a boy. Not me. I was proud to show off our new little girl. In fact, we took her to our favorite bar when she was five days old. Dressed in a frilly purple number, she sat in her child seat taking it all in. There was a woman from my home town in New Jersey who happened to be visiting her daughter in that college town where we lived. She came into the bar and recognized me and gushed over the baby.

Later, back in New Jersey, she called my mother and raved about the beautiful grand daughter we had produced. This irked my mother no end, having this slight acquaintance get the first glimpse of her first grand child.

So it was in the beginning.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 4 2008

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Did you get my email?

Today I was so busy I didn’t even have a chance to check my email. Messages piled up with no regard to my busy schedule. While I was in meetings, these electronic newsy bits kept piling up.

Listserves are the bane of modern existence. People chatted away, though I wasn’t’ there to follow the thread. When I finally looked at my inbox tonight, three was an entire inane conversation about something really important and half the members did not participate.

I sent an email to over 9,000 people last night and accidentally forgot to change the email return address to something other than my own. Consequently, I wound up getting all sorts of responses ranging from pleas for help to complaints about our database system.

Maybe it’s email news subscriptions that are the bane of modern existence. Of course, like listserves, it’s our own darn fault. We signed up for them, so we shouldn’t be upset when they show up. But how much information does one really need, anyway? I read the news articles and promptly forget what I read, but boy I sure had to have that information for some reason.

No wait—it’s spam that is the bane of modern existence. We have a pretty good filter at work and an address to send it to in order to prevent future messages from different sources. Lately there has been an outbreak of spam from Lilly—or something that purports to be the pharmaceutical company. I keep forwarding them to the filter and they keep popping up like e-weeds It just takes time away from anything else I want to do.

We all ask ourselves: what did we do before email? I guess we picked up the phone and asked a question, got an answer and went on our way. People email me from their offices located a few feet from mine. Why not get off your duff and come see me?

You know what email is? It’s free. We love free. We will use the heck out of free. Not that we should be charged for it, like text messaging or something. Just be sensible. Think before you type. Ask yourself: is this message necessary?

Don’t mind me. I’m just tired tonight.