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Crises, averted (or The Bastard Errant E-mails)...


I've been reading Stephen King's Dreamcatcher lately, and maybe that's why the e-mails were such a jolt.

Dreamcatcher has been a hard read: It's not as interesting as his other books, yet it's gorier, darker and has lots and lots of aliens, red fungus and crazy military guys. Weird stuff happens, characters' lives are thrown in disarray, and just as things seem to get normal, all of a sudden their teeth fall out or an angry alien worm chews its way out of someone's anus. (These creatures, it would seem, are the interstellar opposites of mean bosses; whereas a boss chews your ass out, these aliens chew your ass from within.)

That's neither here nor there, though. Just thought I'd gross you out since it's Monday morning an all.

The e-mails in question were bounced messages that I'd never written from addresses I didn't recognize. Clearly, though, the messages were sent from my server (and more disturbingly) from my personal e-mail address.

This was me, fending off the nasty SirCam Virus. Do not try using water hoses on actual computer viruses.

That gave me a little scare.

I looked at the e-mails and there were two different kinds, each sending a different attachment. One of the files was a Word file from my hard drive, an old LCP skit. The other one I didn't recognize. Then I started getting e-mails from people asking why I'd sent them such a strange, cryptic e-mail.

You know that Omar guy. He's all strange and cryptic.

Turns out I had a nasty, Dreamcatcheresque Virus burrowing its way through my addressbook, through cached e-mail addresses and just making my life hell.

I thought about how many folks are in my addressbook and I suddenly wanted to curl up and die, chewed up rectum and all.

Friday night, as soon as I knew what was going on, I subscribed to Mcafee's VirusScan Online (I had virus software, but it turns out it was badly outdated). I found out info about the virus, cleared it out, fixed my registry, sent out an e-mail to Terribly Happy's notify list. The e-mail subject line was, "I may have infected you." It occurred to me after I sent it that there are at least one or two people on the list whom I've dated in the past. Sorry about that. Didn't mean to needlessly freak you out.

It was kind of a nightmare. Not as bad as Dreamcatcher, but close. At least there were no aliens involved.

The other horrific event that happened this week has probably happened to you at some point, but I didn't care quite as much then because, you know, it wasn't happening to me at the time.

I went to a meeting last week. It was for manager types. Toward the end of the meeting, one of my very, very higher-up superiors said something and the snarky part of my brain went, "Oh, yeah, fucking WHATEVER!" I took that attitude out of the room with me, nestled it in my arms, and delivered the evil bundle of joy into an e-mail to one of my co-workers who'd also been in the meeting. I made some withering, pithy comment, first deftly (my memory is DEF, G!) quoting the original comment made in the meeting.

I wrote that, then I sent the e-mail and then I realized, about .003 seconds later that I had sent the e-mail to my upper-upper boss who had made the comment in the meeting.

I know.

You see, I was thinking about my boss while I was writing the message, so the name just popped out into the subject line.

When I realized the titanic, gargantuan, Earth-swallowing mistake I'd just made, I jumped out of my chair about two feet. My mouth made a sound like this:


I stood there, next to my desk, staring at the screen, hand over my mouth. Not breathing. The state unemployment office called me and asked if I wanted them to reserve me a spot in line.

A guy who sits near me saw me react this way.

"Um. I think I. Um. Just made huge. Huge. Huge. Mistake."

"What'd you do?"

"I sent a snotty message to somebody about a meeting I just went to. But instead of sending it to that person, I SENT IT TO [VERY POWERFUL BOSS]!!!"



I freaked out. I went straight to the boss' office. The boss wasn't in the office. I paced. Probably looked like I'd just had my guts removed. I looked at the boss was in another office in a meeting. I figured I had a little time so I went to the vending machines to get a bottle of water and plan my excuse.

When I returned, the boss was in their own office, in front of the computer!

I sprinted, the spirit of Jesse Owens inhabiting my body. I ran in there and said, breathlessly, "Did you ever send an e-mail that you instantly regretted because you took something the wrong way and then you wished you could take it back, but you can't because it already got sent?"

"You mean this e-mail right here?" my boss said, pointing to the screen.

"ACCKKKK!!!" I said. But not out loud. Instead, I said, "Um. Yeah."

"I haven't opened it yet," my boss said. "What pissed you off?" I remembered the subject line said something about me being pissed off.

Then, right there, in the boss' office, I talked about the comment made in the meeting and how I took it the wrong way and how I didn't think before sending the e-mail and when I thought about it some more, it turns out I was being harsh. "And I sent the e-mail before I came to that conclusion," I finished. I think Hell came out and gave me a standing ovation for my slickness.

"Do you want me to just delete the e-mail?" my boss said.

Suddenly, Hell was swept away by sweet rays of sunlight that were shining from the Heavens. I smiled. "Yeah, if you wouldn't mind, that would be great."

Yeah, I know. My boss could easily have looked in their trash later and read the message. But it's okay. I covered it. Even if they read what I wrote.

It was a close call. I almost lost my job.

If you ever hear about me getting hit by a bus, don't blame the driver. I probably found a way to get the bus in motion and send it toward me.


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