E-mail or snail mail: technology imposes on old fashion ways

By Ryan Mulloy above Jill Hind
February 21, 2002

Ryan Mulloy

What can you do online? Last time I checked, you can do just about anything you want and you can do it in a matter of seconds. But let’s say, for a second, that the Internet didn’t exist. Let’s say that there’s no such thing as e-mail. Ready for this little exercise? Great.

Picture the following: you have a friend who’s out of state. Here you are at Cabrini in a world without e-mail. It is going to cost you an arm, a leg and any other body part just to call this person. Also let’s just say your parents are not the ones still paying your bills. Why not send a letter?

I will tell you why. It is pointless. You have this big news that you really want to send out to a friend or two but by the time the letter gets to them, the news could be old or inaccurate. By that time, you could have changed your mind about what you have written or even forgot about it.

Weeks later when you get a reply, you are confused and irritable. So you have done all of this work to send a letter to someone and waited all of this time for what? A big pile of nothing. You have got a cramped hand, you are out of ink in your pen, the paper is gone and you do not know what is going on anymore.

Now picture yourself in the world we’re in. It’s in a world with e-mail and you have sent the news to a friend. They have replied about an hour later and everything has gone smoothly. We live in a fast-paced world. Why not keep with the times and handle your personal correspondence just as fast? Not good enough for you? Let’s take something from the book of Ryan in the last chapter we have thus far.

Valentine’s Day was a week ago. I started seeing someone and she’s in another state. I sent her flowers and the jerks at 1-800-flowers put a limit on my space for the card. What should I do? Should I get a card and send it as well? I’m a perfectionist though. I know I need her to get the card just after she gets the flowers so everything flows perfectly. Yet, I cannot time the mail.

What if she gets the card that says, “I hope you enjoyed the flowers” before she gets the flowers? Kind of ruins that surprise and the Happy Valentine’s Day vibe I’m looking to give off. I know those e-cards are lame, but they provided me with adequate space and they let me time everything perfectly. It made it a pretty good holiday without having to deal with the shiny, happy people at the post office.

Maybe I do not trust the post office and real mail because I am an avid “Seinfeld” fan. The very thought of someone like Newman in charge of my mail scares me half to death. I saw the episode where he would not take the mail out because it was raining. I know it is only a TV show, but I am no dummy. Now we are in this technological age where you can do almost everything online from banking to gambling.

My prerogative is that e-mail is a faster way of communicating and is handled far more personally than the real mail, making it better in almost every sense of the word. It’s much more personal because I’m delivering it myself and not entrusting a boob, like Newman.

I do not really like getting birthday cards or something personal in the mail to have my parents stare at it and make their comments. My mail is no one’s business but my own. I feel it is only a matter of time before we are getting magazines and newspapers on CDs. I even get the New York Times delivered to my Yahoo! account. Then again, this is all just my opinion and we all know that everyone is entitled to my opinion.


Jill Hindman

Yes, I know that we are in the age of technology, but frankly I don’t care. I am just an old-fashioned gal I guess.

How exciting is it to open the lid to your mailbox and see a pile of envelopes waiting for you? Of course you’ll have your average junk mail and a few bills, but as you are sorting through, a little purple envelope falls out of the pile addressed to you in a penmanship that has you wondering who is this little letter from?

Sure, it is easier to type a simple e-mail. And for businesses yes, I agree that it is a more efficient way of communication when there are deadlines to meet and bosses to please. But what is all of this text messaging on cell phones about? Is it really necessary? Why? So that my crush of the week can get all sappy by typing a message that will appear on my cell phone screen? Please! Write me a letter. Don’t bother me by making my phone beep and make me figure out some cryptic message that is supposed to make my heart go pitter-patter? Any guy that thinks that is cute should be escorted right to the curb.

If it was my birthday and my best friend sent me e-mail instead of giving me a card I’d be pissed. What if on your one special day of the year you went to the mailbox and there was not one card waiting for you to tear open? If you said you would not care, you are lying… even you little ogres out there that claim to hate your birthday. I don’t buy it. Everyone wants a card on their birthday. So stop lying to yourselves.

What about all of the love stories that are based solely on love letters written back and forth between men in the military and their wives or girlfriends? Back then you could not e-mail and obviously now you can, but what if your printer is broken, you ran out of paper or you are out of ink or quite possibly your server went down and you lost the letter forever? Can you picture a woman trying to explain that her lover sent her the most romantic letter and it took her breath away, but her printer broke so she can’t show anyone or even remember what it said? Her friends would be like, “Sure Betty, we believe you,” wink, wink. How much nicer it is to have letters saved in weather-beaten envelopes that have a yellow tint to them binded together by some ribbon or in a little shoebox? Okay, so I am a sap.

I may be biased because writing is my passion. It is what I love and enjoy so I would much rather write a letter and receive one in return than an impersonal email. I enjoy sending my sister letters at school that are hugged with envelopes that have silly pictures taped all over them and crazy little one liners that we always say and of course my signature smiley face has to appear numerous times. I want to send her something that reminds her of home, something that warms her heart and that she can look at if she is having a bad day or feeling homesick. In e-mail I can change the font or background color, but that gets old after a while.

E-mail is simple and impersonal. I am complex and sentimental. I am water; it is oil. We don’t mix. Nowadays everyone is in such a big hurry, but really why is that? It is all about delayed gratification, people.

Take the time to show someone you care and write them a letter. If you really are sucked into the cyber world, think of your grandmom or great-aunt who can’t figure out hotmail for the life of them, but would love to hear from you. Letters may take longer to be delivered and they might cost you a little bit for stationery and a stamp, but they show that you care and you took the time out of your day to do something nice. Think of it as sending a smile because once the person on the other end receives it, that’s what they’ll be doing.

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Ryan Mulloy above Jill Hind

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