There was a time, when my computer finished booting up and I logged into my email account, when I eagerly anticipated the happy voice telling me “You’ve got mail.” That was the same great feeling I got years ago whenever I walked down my dirt driveway in Colorado. Back then I pulled out a hand-written envelope from my mailbox from someone who lived two or more time zones away from me, and I knew I was about to unseal a puff of love.

There was no better high than those moments connecting through ink and paper with my grandmother or a girlfriend, under the blue mountain sky. But that was well before they and snail mail lost the fight for life.

These days I’m less excited about knowing I’ve got email waiting to be opened. A few weeks ago while working through my 200-plus emails, I was reminded how my attitude had shifted.

I had just opened an email from someone who knew me but who obviously couldn’t resist the “compelsion” — as Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show” used to say — to send me another one of those moronic wish granting not-to-be-broken-upon-threat-of-how-could-you-be-the-one-to-break-this-chain-letter-full-of-puppies-kittens-babies-in-flowers-and-flickering-candles-that-has-circumnavigated-Pleaides-on-its-way-to-god-and-don’t-you-want-4-great-things-to-happen-to-you-in-4-days-you-beautiful-woman-friend-so-then-put-your-name-on-the-bottom-cut-and-paste-send-to-your-address-book-of-people-who-will-be-equally-annoyed-at-this-guilty-lottery-prayer-that-will-bring-peace-on-earth-with-maybe-some-extra-cash-just-for-you-and-be-sure-to-send-it-back-to-me-so-I-too-will-get-cash-blessing.

The other reminder was when I opened the “scary” attachment. I’m always a bit hesitant about opening those — even when it comes from people close to me. As if it were the equivalent of virtual-reality anthrax, something sent via the ethers to blow up my computer in a way that a unibomber or terrorist would take delight from.

But this one was less dramatic, though it did contain the same deranged thinking: dating wisdom. What made it more distressing is that it had already hit my in-box a few weeks earlier from someone else who knew me.

Maybe you got it too, four times by now I bet. It’s the one saying men are lazy mothers.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, it explains men regularly pick low growing women on the apple tree of life because they are easy to be had — even though they are wormy. As if that’s not enough, it encourages the smart/strong/excellent women, that WE are, to hold out and wait patiently, but not so long that you rot on the tree — and if you do, you guessed it — the perfect Renaissance man with long hands and the corresponding “long family jewels” will indeed come to pick you, you beautiful apple at the top of the tree.

But hadn’t I already told them I was already with Mr. Guy Manly Perfect Disposition? So why did they think I needed this dating wisdom? Because I’d think this was funny or something?

Later on I was talking to a male friend who naturally doesn’t receive any of these uniquely female emails.

“These are not spam. Spam is stuff you get from people you don’t know,” I told him. “This is e-bardment,” I explained. “E-bardment is when you feel like you are being bombarded by email from someone you do know.”

It’s also email from people who mistakenly think the instant gratification and ease of hitting the Send button entitles them to send all kinds of stuff to you –- typically worthless junk like photos they have taken of some obscure moment in time they think is either artistic or of the junior high bathroom humor. Or worse, the political rants from the extreme band of the spectrum best suited for a blogger’s website that virtually no one other than the author will ever read.

E-bardment also includes the emails I’m sure you’ve gotten from a friend of a friend or someone in that six-degrees-of-separation matrix. They somehow get access to your email address and then mistakenly think you are part of their special like-minded club, with members who have way too much idle time on their hands.

I think it was the most recent e-bardment I got that soured me enough to make me consider changing my email account and start fresh. It was when I got for the third time the email explaining why men are like grapes; that they must have the sh-t stomped out of them in order to turn them into drinkable wine.

If I were a real drinker, that’s the moment when I’d have reached for the bottle.

Instead I looked at Mr. Guy when he walked through the door and smiled at him, knowing they had it all crazy in their heads.

— Giselle M. Massi © July 2008