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I want to break the cycle of e-mail abuse. And I need your help.

I’m not sure when it started, but for the last few months I have been checking e-mail before I go to sleep–not from my computer, but from my Treo. Often while I am actually lying in bed. This is a problem, I know, but there is something worse than checking e-mail before bedtime, and that is sending email before bedtime. All it does is perpetuate the sick culture of non-stop accessibility.

In these days of ubiquitous connectivity and Crackberry addiction, it is possible to send e-mail anywhere, anytime–but that doesn’t mean you should. In fact, I think there are as many reasons NOT to send that e-mail as there are to send it.

In an effort to help clarify the ever-fading line between healthy productivity and seriously obsessive behavior, I have compiled this short list. The first ten are mine, but then I cast out a request for more reasons to all of Gearlog’s esteemed contributors. Turns out they are getting (and sending) too much e-mail as well. As I expected, their reasons are just as good as mine, and funnier to boot.

Your reasons may even be better. Please add them in comments; just don’t e-mail them to me.

1. You’re drunk.

2. You’re slow. By the time you finish typing your message, one of the twenty other people on the list has already responded and made your response outdated.

3. Their reply will be better than yours anyway.

4. You’re not funny. If you were, you would be writing “The Office,” not working in one.

5. You didn’t run Spell-check yet. Even though all of the words in your e-mail seem like easy, short ones, you could still makem bare ass sing mistakes.

6. Reply All includes the subject of your e-mail…..yes, Stephanie Chang, Editor of PC Magazine, I am talking to you.

7. Reply All often includes your coworkers, subordinates, and superiors and can easily be forwarded to their family and friends.

8. HR is on there, too.

9. If it’s not worth your time to crop and compress that 7MB image, it isn’t worth their time to download it.

10. Everyone got that joke, saw that video, and sent money to that dying kid two years ago.

After the jump, lots more reasons not to click on Send.

11. You don’t even know where Nigeria is on a map.

12. How you uh, how you comin’ along on that novel you’re working on? Huh? Gotta a big, uh, big stack of papers there? Gotta, gotta nice little story you’re working on there? Your big novel you’ve been working on for 3 years? Huh? Gotta, gotta compelling protagonist? [c.f. Family Guy]

13. You’re using somebody else’s smartphone.

14. Your other hand is on the steering wheel.

15. Your other hand is being held by your girlfriend during an intimate dinner.

16. You just spilled coffee on your smartphone.

17. You’re at a funeral.

18. You’re at a urinal.

19. You’re not as angry as you were when you started writing the e-mail.

20. You’re still too angry to craft an intelligent response.

21. Three hours have passed since the original e-mail, and it’s way too late to be clever.

22. Your CEO who is also on the thread has no sense of humor.

23. The people who downloaded a keylogger on your PC are reading all your e-mail.

24. You don’t know who’s BCC’d on the original email.

25. You are replying to all on an e-mail that you were actually BCC’d on.

26. Your potential employer doesn’t want to know your favorite color or that you took Spanish in college.

27. In fact, no one wants to know this.

28. Right now, there’s a guy sitting in a cubicle upstairs whose sole job is to read your e-mail. He’s laughing about this list.

29. Electronic paper trails.

30. System Administrator: Your mailbox is over its size limit

31. There have been no confirmed cases of people’s pets/mothers/close relatives dying as a result of “breaking the chain.”

32. “Chains were made to be broken”–Abraham Lincoln [Not really.]

33. She/he is over you.

34. No really, she/he just sent me an e-mail, and we are going out on Saturday.

35. You spent 15 minutes on the e-mail, and the recipients will spend .15 sec before hitting Delete.

36. Your mother said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Fine advice.

37. Any e-mail you send could be posted to a public Web site and will become eternally searchable, and will appear as the #2 entry on the Google hit list when somebody types your name in.

38. You didn’t check Snopes.

39. You’re e-mailing about a job position, from an e-mail address like sp4rkl3kitty1981@aol.com.

40. All your e-mails, they belong to us.

41. You don’t know how to use your address book. It’s too easy to send a message intended for your friend Susan W (for White) to your recent ex, Susan W (for Williams).

42. You are careless, especially when the message to friend Susan W is a detailed account of how you just broke up with ex Susan W. Not that we’ve ever done this. (OK, yes we have.)

43. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. (Yes, this includes e-mail.)

44. Just because you have a camera phone doesn’t mean you should use it.

45. You misspelled Viagra.

46. If you respond, the spambots will know your address is valid.

47. You can’t fire someone over e-mail.

48. You can be fired over e-mail you sent.

49. Walking and chewing gum is fine, but walking and sending e-mail is trickier.

50. Look out for that…Oh, wow. That’s really bleeding. Are you OK?


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