Answers and the Forgotten Friend Phenomenom

First, I’m putting these answers here and not in the comments section so that my readers can find them easily

1. It’s Kid Rock
2. It’s HOT STOVE LEAGUE
3. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biweekly  Biweekly can mean twice a week or every two weeks. I’m trying to think of a joke that has to do with “bisexual” but we’ll move on for now.

On to today’s topic, which I call the Forgotten Friend Phenomenom.  A combination of two things has caused me to remember many of my old acquaintances and decide to re-establish contact with them.  First, I’m out of Alaska, which means that I live nearer to these people and therefore hanging out would be theoretically possible.  Second, I’ve become more organized with my emails lately, so I’ll find someone’s address who I’ve lost touch with.  Unfortunately, these interactions have taken an unhappy and predictable pattern.  Let’s examine the process of catching up with an old friend, “Bill”.  Bill is not supposed to be any particular person, although these email exchanges are all so similar that he might as well be.  Let’s say he’s an old Army Buddy, a guy I went to basic training with. Or an old college pal.

1. I find our old emails and drop him a line that goes something like this “Dude, just seeing if you’re at this address still, if you are, drop me a line.  Take care.  The Ruiner.”

2. He is, and he writes back a lengthy email.  “Hey Ruin Christmas, how the hell are you.  It’s great to hear from you.  I’m married now, with two kids, here are the pictures. I work as a bacon engineer and we have a cat and we live in Rhode Island in a lighthouse, etc.”

3. I write back “Hey Bill, awesome that I got in touch with you.  Here’s a picture of my kid, I’m a professional seagull hunter and I live in Connecticut in a teepee etc.”

4. I never hear from Bill again.

Look, I understand that Bill has a job in the hectic bacon field.  But when I email someone to keep in touch, it would be nice to get at least a three word response back to my second email.  Not everyone has time to sit in front of the computer and type out long-ass emails, but seriously, if I just wanted to find out where you lived and how many kids you had, I’d hire a private investigator or something.  If we were close friends for a couple of years ten years ago, but haven’t spoken since 2002, and you get an email from me and you don’t want anything to do with me because your wife doesn’t let you have friends, or you’ve heard about the prostitutes I’ve murdered or you remembered that I stole your sweatshirt the last time we hung out, then don’t answer the first one! 

Before anyone says anything, I’ve even taken various tactics so as to not scare away potential correspondents, and I’ve done this from the beginning, not just because I creeped out the last 25 dudes I emailed.  (Oh yeah, and two chicks – neither were ex-girlfriends)

1. I wait an appropriate amount of time between emails.  Nothing like sending a long email with pics at 4:44 PM and at 4:47 PM getting emailed back; like I’ve been sitting here slavering over the keyboard.  If you took 2 days to hit me back, I’ll also take 2 or 3 days so I don’t scare someone.  I know you don’t have time for a freaking penpal.  Just answer with a couple of words and I’ll go away happy. 

2. I ask questions. If we just “caught up” I could see thinking that we were good for another ten years, but if I ask “So what’s new in the bacon field” or “Do you ever talk to Jimmy anymore?”, you can feel free to answer.

3. I don’t send longer emails than Bob sent me. Then they feel like they have to write a novel back and since that’s an intimidating task, I can see how it would get put off until they forget all about it.

When I hear from Bob initially, but not after the second email, I figure either:
1. He never got it.
2. He’s dead or a tragic accident befell him or his family..
3. Something I said was terribly offensive.
4. He’s afraid that I’ll stalk him and put him on email chain mail lists.
5. I’m a loser.

Here’s a tip. If you are super-busy, or you just have run out of things to say to the person, say so in your email.  “Dude, we’ve got to flatten out like 100,000 pigs in the next two months and we just started a line of llama bacon.  I’ll write more when I get a chance.” and then three or six months later, sending me another message would be cool.  When I’m emailing someone and we’ve gone back and forth a few rounds but there’s really nothing else to say, I’ll put stuff in my email like “Well it was good catching up with you.  I hope you get that second lighthouse erected.  Keep in touch!”  Indicating that you can still write me if you want to, but I’m not going to be hitting refresh on my gmail waiting. 

I am so sick of being all happy that I got in touch with someone, followed by despair and feeling like a lonely jerk or a stalker two weeks later, that I am swearing off initiating correspondence with old friends.  You want me, you know where to find me..

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