Saturday, July 05, 2008

The E-Mail: Think Before You Write

This was was an actual e-mail I wrote to an administrator at Roanoke College. Aside from removing certain people's names, everything is exactly as it was the day I sent it. I also sent a copy to the president of the school. And then I was almost kicked out. Enjoy.

To Whom It May Concern (YOU):

This e-mail has been a long time coming. Lucky for you, my mother convinced me to take a few days and several deep breaths before composing it. These two simple steps are responsible for the absence of vulgarity and threats in this e-mail. Allow me to set the scene for you...

I am a sophomore of decent academic standing with a strong upbringing in hard work, focus, and most importantly, integrity. My name is T**** Q**** Fischer, but my friends call me Q. You may call me "Disgruntled Angry Young Roanoke College Student With Six Pack Abs". As previously stated, integrity is very important to me. and with integrity, comes honesty. However, with a lack of honesty, comes broken promises, shattered dreams, and an angry sophomore typing an e-mail to his mother that contains innumerable expletive deleteds. Tell me, is the forthcoming nature of this e-mail already giving you goosebumps? Well, prepare to meet R.L. Stein in the flesh.

First off, I disagree with May term. Intensive Learning not only has no appeal to me whatsoever, but it also shares a word found only in negative connotations i.e. intensive care, intensive investigation, and intensive Middle Eastern torture. What really "cooks my grits" as Denzel Washington's character in Remember The Titans once said, is the housing situation for May term. Naturally, it would obviously be easier for the school and the students if us peppy intensive learners were allowed to simply stay in our current rooms. But, of course, that option would only make sense - and sense is something far from familiar to Roanoke College. Dismally, I was under the impression I would be able to stay in my current and sizable room. Why would be assuming such a thing? Because you told me I could. Here, let me refresh your memory. Below you will find a brief e-mail communique between myself and you, Ms. *******. Your response is above my initial e-mail. I've highlighted the parts that warrant extra attention.

You will be receiving more information at a later date from the Office of Student Life. If you have specific questions, I will try to answer them. You will be allowed to keep your things in your room until June 3rd.-********

From: Fischer, T****
Sent: Mon 3/21/2005 6:47 PM
To: ********
Subject: RE: May Term
Regarding your inquiry about my plans for May term, I will be staying in my room (Wells 1, Room 130) for the three week duration. However, I would appreciate some details as to how the housing process works for May term. Any information would suffice. Forgive the lateness of my reply.

Please note, I changed the font color to blue to better represent the e-mail communication. The parts that are highlighted in bold and underlined represent a nonverbal agreement based on trust and, most importantly, integrity. Oh sure, you never officially told me I could stay in my room. And sure, you probably didn't even notice that I informed you of my residence hall, section, and room number. And triple sure, why not tell me I can leave my things in my room until June 3rd. It's not like telling me something like that would bother me, much less cause a chain reaction of anger, frustration, and lengthy e-mails.

So naturally, following your ruse, I talk with my parents and tell them I can simply leave a decent amount of my belongings in my current room. Of course, now, much to the chagrin of me (and my father's bad back) I am to move all of my things roughly twenty yards down the way to Yonce IV. Aside from the extreme inconvenience you've befallen on me (and my father's bad back, mind you), you've also decided to slap me in the face and tell me to move my things from my large and comfortable room to Hitler's bunker in Yonce IV. Please note, Hitler allegedly killed himself in that sardine can. Please note once more, his suicide was a blessing, but tight spaces after comfortable living is enough to drive a man mad. I understand you probably made a mistake or may have not even known about this Virginia Synod conference in time. In fact, while on the subject, what in God's three-letter name is a Synod conference? Wait, I just used the wondrous tool of the internet to find out... and I almost threw up on my computer. So I am being given the boot from my room so a bunch of Holy Rolling Lutherans can nominate each other for who sports the most stylish crucifix? That's not a slap in the face - it's a kick in the groin. If you happen to be a practicing Lutheran, disregard my previous comments. I lack the basic respect for religion a normal human being would have, especially when it impedes on my living situation. Now before I go off on another atheistic tangent, let's get down to brass tacks here...

As I said, I understand your e-mail was a simple mistake. Albeit a mistake that filled me up with a false hope. The same false hope religion gives to people. Oops, there I go again. The purpose of this e-mail is not to ask for your permission to stay in my room - I know it will not happen. This e-mail is merely an attempt to express my intense discontent with this school, its actions, and its inability to gain my approval. Furthermore, I also realize how easily you can claim ignorance about this conference, but I also realize that something as big and SPECTACULAR as the Virginia Synod conference does not simply slip under someone's nose.

All right, enough with the formalities and snide remarks, I am angry. If I had it my way, this entire e-mail would be emblazened with obscenities Chris Rock couldn't even formulate. Unfortunately, my mother and friends convinced me doing so would probably end my tenure at Roanoke College, but at this point, does that even really matter anymore? Sure, maybe I'm making a big deal out of nothing. And sure, maybe I'm acting selfish and childish responding in a manner such as this. And yes, triple sure, maybe I should just sit back and accept the fact that I was bamboozled, tricked, and made a fool of. But unlike the inactive, sad, sorry, pathetic student body that comprises the remainder of Roanoke College, I will not fall victim to your chicanery. At this point, I would normally apologize for the excessive length of this e-mail, but the truth of the matter is, I would not regret a single word I wrote. Good day to you and I hope your month of May is as fabulous as mine.

This Guy


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