D Note Chronicles #33
The D Note sends out an e-mail once a week to let folks know what is happening the next week. We call it a d-mail. I've been writing it for 4 years now and we have a pretty good sized list. I look forward to writing this every week because it gets me excited about what is coming up and also because I get to share poetry. Every week I choose a classic poem to send out. This is an interesting exercise in diplomacy. I have to choose something that won't offend anybody, which eliminates more poems than you would think. And it needs to be something not too difficult to process, which eliminates a whole nuther bunch of poetry, since poetry is by nature dense. But I still love to do it, being a lover of poetry, spreading the word, so to speak. To see many examples of the kind of poems that actually work (I hope) you can check out the dbuzz section at dnote.us. And if you are interested in receiving the line up every week, plus a poem, you can sign up on the website too.
Suffice to say, the d-mail has become a kind of sacred writing space for me, not unlike this very column. And, also, it is an important way to keep in contact with our people, to get people out to the shows. Both of those reasons made last week's d-mail debacle a big ol' bummer.
Last Wednesday I sent out the d-mail, as usual. And a few folks responded, as usual. But something unusual happened. The replies went out to everybody on the list instead of just me. This was very confusing to folks, who wondered why they were getting e-mails asking to be removed from the e-mail list. And once they figured it out they started replying in turn saying they wanted off the d-mail list too. And every one of these went out to everybody on the list. Some folks were very angry about getting these e-mails. And we can understand why. Everyone is inundated by enough e-mails as it is, and to suddenly get a bunch that have nothing to do with you, when you are busy at work to boot, is aggravating. But people were more annoyed than you would expect and there were lots of exclamation points. "Take me off your e-mail list NOW!!! You're killing me!!!!! STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"I will never go there again…too bad. Take me off your list and learn how to use your computers!!!!!!!!!!!!"
And from a company that does, of all things, graffiti removal consulting, "PLEASE… I CAN"T TAKE IT ANYMORE…IF IT DOESN'T END SOON I MAY NEVER COME IN THERE AGAIN!!!"
And how about this one, "From the Office of Mayor Hickenlooper - PLEASE fix your problem. This is an unnecessary influx of email. Thank you in advance."
I think the summer solstice full moon that day had something to do with the hysterical responses. And the worst thing is that we couldn't stop it. See, webservers are a little difficult to get a hold of right away sometimes. They tend not to have phone numbers, only e-mail addresses.
We were sweating bullets, watching the e-mails pile up by the hour. By the time we finally got the glitch fixed something like 187 e-mails had gone out to everyone on our list. And, we were told by our webserver, when he finally got back to us the following day, that he flushed out another 450 e-mails that were waiting in the queue!
This all caused much stress for yours truly. In the midst of Wednesday's craziness I broke down into a deep nap to get away from it all. While I was asleep I dreamed something funny and woke up from the nap laughing. I was grateful for a little rest and a little laughter to give levity to a heavy day. Down deep in sleep I suppose I could get the cosmic humor from a safe distance. Later that night, on the other hand, I had trouble sleeping, tossing and turning with a sense of responsibility, knowing that as I slept the e-mail barrage would continue, racking my brain all night for some way to stop it.
The silver lining was that a number of folks were highly entertained by the whole thing. Here are a few of the more interesting responses,
"I just want to thank everyone who has participated in this glorious piece of performance art today. Your collective work has kept me enthralled for hours since I got home and started catching up on email.
At first, I didn't get it. I thought that everyone was serious. But, on closer inspection, I discovered that things didn't add up. There were messages from professionals representing respectable institutions acting as though they didn't know basic email concepts.
The thing that really gave it away was that so many people continued to do it even after these concepts had been explained repeatedly. But, being the D Note crowd, I think we like to have a little fun. And we sure ran with it! Complaining about spammers while spamming a huge list of people is hilarious on so many levels. This is just the type of thing that those of us who enjoy the clever banter of the D Note Events messages appreciate. I see people still participating even at this late hour. I admire your dedication."
And similarly, "This whole thing's starting to take on the feel of a public art project (hmmm...maybe Adam's "mistake" wasn't unintentional after all...), and some of your reactions have been quite humorous. In the spirit of Adam's literary predilections and as a way of promoting the very excellent D-Note, I'm going to compile all of your response into a book and offer it for free via the web.
If you do NOT want your name or your email to be included in my little book, please let me know by hitting REPLY ALL to this email and I'll remove you from my list."
"I think its fun getting extra emails!!"
"You seem to have some serious problems."
"Please remove me from your "please remove me from your list" list!"
"I find it hysterical that a guy from "reincarnated incorporated" keeps sending out the same email to everyone. I have just injured myself from laughing."
"I love the D-Note and everything that it entails, and appreciate the fact that you are purging your email list of unforgiving people. Accidents happen. I might make one any second now."
"Please keep me on your email list. I need to get a life and this is a great
"We should start using this for networking. Is anyone hiring??"
"We've got a few positions open at my company, what are your areas of expertise?"
"My god, are you people all daft?"