Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Attack of the Glurge

It seems I have hurt some feelings among the female emailing circle of my family. I have failed to participate in glurge-forwarding. This was loaded with meaning, and with rejection of them, and I had no idea.

I mean, I knew they loved the stuff. It fills my inbox on a regular basis. But I thought glurge was offhand, casual. I thought it was something that even its fans sent with little serious thought, and with even less concern about getting a response.

We were amazed to find how dependent our kids are on text-messaging. They spend every spare moment on their cell-phones texting and sending each other pictures, and it isn't because they simply allow it get out of hand and then get a shocker of a phone bill. Nope, they know what it costs, but they'll work long hours to pay for it. The cost of dropping out is isolation. If you leave the loop, then the "world" --your circle-- drops you, not out of cruelty but simply because you aren't "there." You aren't "talking" to them.

And I've realized that glurge is the non-youth (This email circle is aged about 35-83) version of texting. It's the way you stay plugged in, prove you care. It's the way you show you've given this person some thought today. You have to participate. "You've been Angel-Kissed! Kiss 10 people within 5 minutes, including me - or it means you don't love me!"

But...but....<sputter>! these are smart, educated, professional women. Surely they don't take the stuff seriously! Surely they don't think that my failure to send back the little praying Precious Moments child with the animated head nod and blinking eyes really does mean I don't care about the sender!

There was a big clue, though, and I missed it. The clue was that these ladies also believe every fake sick-or-missing-child plea that makes the email rounds. I made an earlier gaff in sending them the snopes.com info that the Little Missing Girl thing was phony. In my naiveté, I thought they'd feel relieved that there is no poor little Penny, much less an imperiled Penny. Unfortunately, it seems they may be feeling rebuffed by my pointing that out, too.

Now this, I understand. When someone shows you how gullible you've been, you want to smack them upside the head. Heck, I'm an idiot on a regular basis, and my immediate thought is "I hate this person for knowing I'm an idiot." That's my old brain talking, and the new more logical brain takes over and helps me realize that it isn't the other party's fault that I'm an idiot, but I understand the feeling.

I didn't think of that when I sent back the "It's a hoax" response. Okay, I can be kind of dense. A small good thing came out of it: no matter how much you hate having your dumbness pointed out, you tend to look out and not fall into that particular dumbness again. Or not often. No more heart-rending pleas for fictitious abducted or hospitalized kids have arrived.

But the glurge is what really matters to them, and it keeps coming. It matters to these women. Teachers, accountants, entrepreneurial women, people with advanced frikkin degrees. Who knew?!

And I have to face it. I was kind of an insensitive clod. If I'd loaded their inboxes with lots of loving delightful stuff all along, then this one "Yall fell for a hoax" response wouldn't have seemed quite so cold. But while I've occasionally emailed the group with news or jokes, it's been infrequent.

So I need to give my cousins/in-laws/nieces/etc more email attention, and I need to find ways to do it that do not involve pretending that I agree with "Things would be fine if we had prayer in the schools!" and "Mail this flapping flag cartoon everywhere to support the Iraq War!" and "Jesus wants you to be sad and think about death!" There's lots of amusing stuff I can mine the internet for. I run into cool stuff all the time, thanks to several newsgroups and bloggers, and I've been less attentive in sharing it via email than I could have been.

I'll still need to spin a spoof once in awhile, but I'll keep 'em quiet.

Jesus wants me,
this I know,
to be sad depressed and low!
Wipe that smile off, chill that cheer!
Sick tots, lost dogs, death and tears!
Yes, He is maudlin!
Yes! He is maudlin.
Yes, He is maudlin -
for my email tells me so.


Mike said...

Coming late to the party and reading through the backlog ... which means I happened on to this the day after a conversation about snopes.com and well-intentioned relatives, rather than about 10 days before it.

We had some of that mass email-forwarding going around in my family but, between my elder son and me and our tendency to send back the appropriate snopes.com reference, and hitting "reply all" when doing so, it seems to have stopped.

Or they're still doing it but have cut us out of the loop.

Like, either way, y'know?

Of course, there's a potential stereotype lurking in this, in that we Y-chromosome types are not supposed to be so concerned with bonding and sharing. I understand women have more highly developed protocols in how delicately and circuitously they phrase it when telling each other they're full of it.

Present company excluded, of course. That being your point. (And the point of reading your blog.)

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Oddly (to me) every one of these women is in the northeast. Not even one of my southern circle of female relatives is into glurge! Curiouser and curiouser.