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The Psychology of Reversed E-mail

Don’t ask why, just trust me when I say I am confused and it’s my own damn fault. I work two paying jobs, yes, on the same day. I also have two computers at home and carry around a Blackberry. Don’t ask me which number or type Blackberry, I don’t know and really don’t care. So on any given day I am on at least four different computers. Is it any wonder I stay behind in my e-mail?

After four days of being away from two of the computers I work on, I thought I had caught up on my e-mails. I was wrong.

I also have five or six e-mail address, but really only two I use personally. But I am even way behind in reading the e-mail there. So I set about in earnest trying to catch up. The problem happened when I realized that I was reading all the e-mails in reverse. That in and of itself would not be such a big problem, because who would know anyway, except me? The big problem occurred when I realized that they actually made more sense in reverse. It’s much like living life backwards, which I find intriguing and might be the best way for me as I hate the aging process.

I get to read everyone’s replies to the e-mails and know the general consensus before I read the original piece. Not that I agree with the replies, but it is fun to read them first and try to figure out what everyone is talking about. It’s especially fun when they are talking about things that only make sense when you read the original e-mail, which is often the case with those of us who try to write humor. I’ve never liked making sense or having order in my world, so this suits me just fine.

I often find that by the time I get through the replies to the original e-mail I can’t find the original e-mail. I have to live knowing what I know from the answers and comments and not the original text. It’s much like how we learn about ancient cultures or Plato and Aristotle. You don’t get to really know them, but you know them through what other people say. You have to have a lot of faith in people to read e-mails backwards. They could get it all wrong, you know.

I find that this bizarre habit causes problems though with those stupid quotes I signed up for before I was too busy to read them as soon as they arrive. Just this past week I read the Motivational Quote For the Day at the end of that day. By the time I realized the problem it was the next day and I had a new quote to deal with and motivate me. I can’t take all that motivation at one time. It messes with my procrastination.

Reading e-mail backwards does keep me from worrying too much. I find out friends were in the hospital after they are home. But I also find out they were seriously ill and I never got to worry about them at all. I’m a really good worrier so now I worry that I didn’t get a chance to worry about these friends of mine.

Today I have been struggling with language skills, which is to say, my mind is garbled and when I speak or type the entire world becomes aware of the problem. So, today, reading in reverse makes even more sense to me.

Now if I could just figure out how to explain what I read in reverse. No, forget that. I would sound like I know what’s going on. I couldn’t stand such a drastic change in my life.

From the life and mind of:

Wanda M. Argersinger

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  1. I understand your frustration. I have tried changing the order in my “options” settings, and it works–for an hour or two. Then it is right back to the way it was. It is sort of like riding in the middle seat of a van when it faces the rear. Is life easier if you see where you have been, rather than where you are going? Perhaps sometimes it makes us smarter.
    Janet Elaine Smith, multi-genre author

  2. Funny and insightful! I’m feeling somewhat like that now. I keep reversing my email list so I can read them in the “right” order. Mmmmm? And, find myself commenting on things that were posted weeks ago.

    Don’t stress it – or as my grandfather used to say, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”

  3. There’s a way to read them in order? Dang! Why didn’t somebody tell me. I just start with the first one, read, wonder, scratch my head, delete, and on to the next.

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