ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 34

Dying art

Dear TPH,
I use my company email address and my friends usually email me there. Some of my friends write very long emails, which I don't have the time to read or reply because I am usually very busy at work. I don't have internet at home and my friends complain that I never write to them. They also complain when I forward emails. Please help me.

Dear G.S.,
First, tell me if I have got this figured out. You don't have time to write or reply to your friends letters, but you have time to write to me and the nerve to expect me to spend an entire afternoon to solve your problems. Then you don't have the heart to appreciate a long email from a friend, but you have time to complain about how long they are and the audacity to admit that you don't have time to even read them. Quite frankly, I am surprised you even have friends in the first place!

The worst part though G.S. is that you are part of the powerful majority. Judging by this response, you will have no doubt that I – on the other hand – belong to the minority of 'long and frequent letter writers' whose hearts are big enough to accommodate the scorns and scuffles of those friends who would hardly reply a poignant ten thousand word letter with a simple "yes" or "no", let alone bothering to type just two words even to say "thank you for remembering me." The majority always rules – so I will do well not to offend too many people anymore than I have to.

Friends don't write to you because they have nothing better to do and no one who writes a long email expects to win the Pulitzer Prize for it (that would surely be a bonus though). No G.S., friends write because they care and because they hold you in their thoughts. They probably write because they miss you, and not because they are emotionally attached to their key-boards.

As sad and dramatic as this may sound, 'letter writing' is a dying art in a world that has got all its priorities mixed up. We are now given company email accounts so that we may keep the customers happy and attended to. Of course it's wrong to pass judgement on this issue because it may well be argued that it's unethical to use a company email account and take up your working hours to write personal emails (see the smile on your bosses face?).

But, we often have no qualms about selling our time and efforts to a corporation, to try and retain customers who will leave you the very moment they find a better deal somewhere else. We have to please those who buy our time, effort and youthful years in order to earn a living. Yet we ration the time and words we expend on those who really care for us. There's more to "Life" than 'earning a living'. Trust me on this one; the worse thing that can happen even if you can 'buy happiness' is not to have someone to share it with! If you don't trust me, ask anyone who's got a 250 yard hole-in-one on the golf course and turned around and realised that nobody had actually seen it!

So take a moment to think about it. Your friends can never pay you to read or reply their letters like your company does. Most of them will not even complain that you don't reply, but would still write to you and be there for you when you need them. They would tolerate your forwards as long as they contain pictures of polar bears or dogs and complain only when you send them pictures of fairies and flowers with an irritating MIDI file playing in the background. But there cannot be a soul out there who is incapable of appreciating a few thoughtful words and who doesn't feel 'lifted' to know that they are thought of.
Keep in Touch… seriously! -TPH

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.