Speak carefully … it may be e-mailed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2000

E-mail may be the best and certainly is one of the most frustrating inventions of our time.

As I cleared my desk to prepare to write this column a few minutes ago I heard a familiar voice … &uot;You’ve got mail&uot; for the third time in the past several minutes.

It was the AOL guy, arguably one of the most recognized voices in the country, barking out with gusto those same three words he shouts an average of 40 times per day from the speakers beside my computer.

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Hadn’t checked e-mail yet this morning so I reached for the mouse and popped up the &uot;Inbox&uot; window, looking immediately to the familiar line of text near the bottom left corner of the screen. &uot;63 Items, 47 Unread.&uot; That’s what I get for being out of the office part of the day yesterday, I thought as I began scanning name and subject lines.

Don’t get me wrong, I love e-mail. I communicate with friends and with fellow employees more frequently and effectively that ever before. But, in today’s mail, like most days, is the inevitable assortment of information superhighway, traffic-jamming junk e-mail. Of the 47 unread items, 11 are jokes or funny stories from four different senders, all old friends or business associates. Three others are newsletters from e-companies. The remaining 33 are work related.

Occasionally, when I take the time to read the jokes I find a funny one or two. Here’s a humorous set of quotes that came in today’s e-mail:

— Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?

Answer: &uot;I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, if so we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.&uot; — Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.

— Question: Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean I’d love to be skinny like that but not with all those flies and death and stuff.&uot; — Mariah Carey, singer.

— &uot;Researchers have discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two, but can’t remember what they are.&uot; — Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show.

— &uot;I haven’t committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law.&uot; — David Dinkins, New York City Mayor, answering accusations that he failed to pay his taxes.

— &uot;Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.&uot; — Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for a federal anti-smoking campaign.

— &uot;I’ve never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body.&uot; — Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward.

— &uot;Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.&uot; — Mayor Marion Barry, Washington D.C.

— &uot;We’re going to turn this team around 360 degrees.&uot; — Jason Kidd, after being drafted by the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

— &uot;I’m not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president.&uot; — Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of subpoenaed documents.

— &uot;China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese.&uot; — Former French President Charles DeGaulle.

— &uot;That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it.&uot; — A congressional candidate in Texas.

— &uot;It isn’t the pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.&uot; — Former Vice President Dan Quayle.

— &uot;Without censorship things can get terribly confused in the public mind.&uot; — General William Westmoreland.

And last but not least, a parting word from Dan Quayle: &uot;I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix.&uot;

Todd Carpenter is publisher of The Democrat. You can reach him by calling 446-5172, ext. 218 or by e-mail at todd.carpenter@natchezdemocrat.com.