Dec 14 2010

Trying to think of a subject for every fucking email I write!

Published by at 3:13 am under Why?!?

how email works, how does email work

It’s bad enough that I spend half my day reading and writing stupid emails when I could be using that time to lie face down on the floor waiting for death, but I have to come up with appropriate titles for my little miniature novels too? Why is modern society so God-awful?

I mean what the fuck subject am I supposed to use when sending an email with bad news, for example? I don’t want to blow my wad and give all the juicy details away with a subject like “Accidentally killed a hobo today. Prob going to jail” but I also need to subtly warn the recipient that this is not your average hilarious email with a link to a rollerblader falling off a roof.

On the other hand, I can’t be too casual and write a subject that is overly optimistic, like “Hey” or “Guess what” and then whack them with the bad news of my hobo manslaughter in the body of the email.

I’m left with few options and feel obligated to go with something like “Today sucked” or “Hobo news.

And I refuse to leave the subject blank, that’s the quitter’s way out! I don’t want to be stuck in some back and forth email exchange with my mom about hobo murder, and have “re: re: re: re: re: re: re:” staring back at me. I simply don’t think that honors the life of Flapjack Pete.

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20 comments so far

20 comments to “Trying to think of a subject for every fucking email I write!”

  1. Paul from Saint Paulon 14 Dec 2010 at 9:36 am

    Are you saying that your blog posts are novellas? Because we might need a literature talk.

    Or do you have a collection of Barbie-doll sized novels that you are self-publishing and keeping on the shelves of your Barbie Townhouse™?

    Also, when did the townhouse become such a hideous, garish pink & fuchsia monstrosity?

    Your teeny tiny novels deserve a far better setting.

  2. Mackwizon 14 Dec 2010 at 9:40 am

    Hilarious! You somehow have access to all the bitches and gripes in my subconscious and bring them out, making me feel like I’ve been smacked in the face with the palm of reality. I feel vindicated by reading your stuff.

  3. calebon 14 Dec 2010 at 9:47 am

    i’m really surprised that you had a post about snow yesterday or today. i don’t know about chicago, but the twin cities have seriously screwed up plowing service. granted, it was the 5th largest snowfall in twin cities history, but still – they have these “snow emergency” rules for parking and yet they are so behind on plowing that you can’t move your car anywhere and you get ticketed AND towed. argh….. don’t even get me started. SERENITY NOW!

  4. calebon 14 Dec 2010 at 9:48 am

    i’m surprised that you HAVEN’T, is what i meant to say.

  5. Paul from Saint Paulon 14 Dec 2010 at 10:30 am

    Caleb, I had to move my car four fucking times, which was quadruply frustrating because the plows didn’t even show up at some of the streets I had to navigate. I spent twenty minutes trying to make a two-minute trip around the block in the ruts created by trucks, only to have to back up into intersections when another car appeared since only one car fit on the road.

    The subzero temperatures after the snowfall were the icing on the shitcake.

    I now have a 6′ snowbank in front of my house that is rapidly turning into an icebank that I will need a garden shovel to break apart, if I’m lucky.

    Surprise bonus (for me): I am a teacher and have gotten two snow days in a row. This is the second time in eight years we’ve had snow days.

  6. calebon 14 Dec 2010 at 10:58 am

    yeah i’m house/dogsitting for my brother in st. paul for the next few days, and yeah – only one side of the street has been plowed so everyone has to flatly ignore the day/night route thing and just hope they don’t get towed. because it seems like the plows are doing their own thing, and they are moving as fast as they can, i get that – but then the people out tagging and towing are doing THEIR own thing as well, regardless of whether a plow has been through or not. it’s become paradoxical.

    i think there has been enough uproar over this that they will be forced to rethink their procedures.

  7. Diss Contenton 14 Dec 2010 at 11:01 am

    Even with an appropriate title like “Accidentally killed a hobo” there is still plenty to anticipate.

    Claiming the killing as being accidental would infer that there has been times where such actions were intentional; otherwise why add such a preemptive descriptor? I would be compelled to keep reading especially knowing his demise was not the intended outcome.

    Maybe when he was asking for a quarter, you threw down a twenty dollar bill and he dropped dead at your feet. I think your subject was just the right balance of tease and involuntary hobocide.

  8. Kathyon 14 Dec 2010 at 11:13 am

    Subject lines I don’t care about. What I hate are the bozos who get their feelings hurt if you don’t respond to every email they send, even if a reply isn’t needed. Someone sends me a file I need, and I have to respond and stroke their ego? I guess I’m just a rude person since I don’t reply with an effusive “THANK you, that’s JUST what I needed. XOXO”. Thin skinned buttheads. How ’bout I let you know if I DON’T get it instead?

  9. kenon 14 Dec 2010 at 11:20 am

    I see it as a marketing challenge. I’ve done some freelance corporate copywriting work and once argued (somewhat jokingly) that is they made subject lines more compelling, they could vastly improve their ‘click-through’ rate. I just may have to give the hobo subject line a try.

    Seriously, if you got four e-mails from Chase bank at the same time which would you open first:

    a) Go paperless today and get 5,000 rewards points
    b) How to kill a hobo and NOT go to jail
    c) Make your penis larger in just two weeks
    d) Meet hot singles in your area

  10. Paul from Saint Paulon 14 Dec 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I agree with Diss and Ken: your hobo subject line has to invite someone to actually read the email; otherwise, people just glance at the subject and move on.

    Violence grabs the eyes, but so does sex. Can you add a sexual slant to the subject line about the hobo, just a grainy taint that promises some graphic sexual details in the body of the message, perhaps about the body of the hobo.

    Could it be a rollerblading parkour

    collision with a masturbating hobo in the alley, in which the frigid temperatures left the deceased hobo with a frozen 90° erection rising out of his dilapidated trousers (held up only by a rope). A vivid description of the look on his face, a combination of near-orgasm ecstasy and sudden, wrenching pain, would also appeal to your email reader. Also, what was he masturbating to, and did you dig it out of the snow and slip it into your coat before the police arrived?

  11. Paul from Saint Paulon 14 Dec 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Oops, I put in a crazy link. Some educational software company just got some extra publicity. Given the context, they should be paying me for reaching their target clientele in novel ways. Here is the proper parkour information:

  12. Diss Contenton 14 Dec 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I don’t want to speculate too much on how the hobo was dispatched but…..

    Listy could have been being minding his own business, while opening up the trunk of his car to discover a long forgotten case of Night Train filling the compartment. He asks the first person he sees (Flapjack Pete) if he would mind taking this thing off his hands. Flapjack gladly takes the beverage out of the trunk and continues his journey.

    Now Listy has the required room in his trunk to deposit a lifeless, dwarf prostitute bundled in a Twister mat after she was killed with a left foot green, right foot red combination spin. Rolling her in the Twister mat gave the appearance of a giant loaf of Wonder Bread and attracted no one’s suspicion.

    After dumping her body at the rail yard, Listy notices Flapjack lying in a supine position and surrounded by empty Night Train bottles and stone cold departed. I can appreciate his sense of responsibility where giving Flapjack that case of wine was the cause of his demise. But I think it is clear that we can’t be our brother’s keeper and Flapjack’s death was by his own hand.

  13. Paul from Saint Paulon 14 Dec 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Diss, if Flapjack Pete had lived in Saint Paul, he would’ve been in Hobo Heaven even before being dispatched by Listy:

    Tinkles, the tiny sex worker who gave her life to satisfy the prurient, degenerate fetish lying at the heart of Listy’s being, however, is another case entirely. His increasingly demanding, if not impossible, spins led her down a path of degradation reminiscent of the depths Jennifer Connelly’s character sank to in the soul-numbing conclusion of Requiem for a Dream.

    It’s repugnant what Listy does just to see a Little Person squirm about nude on a plastic dotted mat. I’m just hoping he wasn’t shooting what turned into snuff when Tinkles’ miniature body finally snapped while straining for that last red foot circle. Her reward: a funeral procession consisting of being stuffed into a car trunk with only a forgotten case of Night Train as a mourner, rolled in the shroud of the Hasbro game that brought an end to an already unimaginably sad life.

    Condense that into your subject line, you sick fuck.

  14. Joeon 14 Dec 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Whenever my addled brain is loathe to conjure a subject line I just write “about tomorrow….”

  15. Diss Contenton 14 Dec 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Well said Paul from Saint Paul,

    I had completely overlooked the bizarre dynamic of Tinkles being the ‘Mr. Hands’ to Listy’s ‘Big Dick’ persona in some sort of inverse ‘Harold and Maude’ relationship, except instead of a huge age difference there is a huge difference in height among other things
    Poor Tinkles, little did she know that the polymer, Twister mat was nothing more than a foil to prevent Listy’s imported all natural, Berber carpet from being stained with his own precious bodily fluids. Oh don’t get me wrong Paul, Listy did not avoid the company of Tinkles; he just denied her his essence.

    I think the Frank Booth version of Gulliver has plenty of grist for the subject line now. If that really was his message in the first place.

  16. You Just Made My List!on 14 Dec 2010 at 8:09 pm


  17. Paul from Saint Paulon 14 Dec 2010 at 8:52 pm

    “It takes a very tiny lady to make me feel like a Big Man.” That should ensure at least a cursory glance at the email, leading to a stark exposure of Listy’s Frank Booth/Gulliver heart, which thumped deliriously as it sensed the life being extinguished from two of the Windy City’s most lovable losers, Flapjack Pete and Tiny Tinkles. No, you never touched them, not with your hands. You defiled them with your being. And no, one sings for the abandoned bodies of grubby lowlifes left in the filthy snow at the rail yard. There’s no salvation in your subject heading, just callous cackling at your own insidious dance steps around the edges of murder. For you, cruelty and Christmas have always been indistinguishable. Hapless hobos, hide away, hide away!

  18. You Just Made My List!on 14 Dec 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Paul and Diss – I am impressed and humbled. However, you are exposing my weaknesses as a “writer” by being funnier and more clever than me. Please be more dumber.

  19. Canaduckon 15 Dec 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Man I love this blog.

  20. corpon 28 Jul 2011 at 1:27 am

    Email to wife

    subject- Divorce

    She wonders where this is going