An unsolved mystery of the phantom e-mailer

Melissa Leach

You must check it at least a half a dozen times a day or more. It’s like this disease that attacks your fingers and makes them grab hold of the mouse. You can’t help it. You are addicted. You long for that inbox message to read: “You’ve got mail.” You are excited to see what this invisible box contains, so you open it. With a click of the mouse, you have cured your disease, at least for the moment.

You sort through the contents. There are some messages you trash right away. You filter out the nice e-mails, from the “not so nice” ones that you receive from a range of solicitors. You delete those annoying forwards that are supposed to bring you years of good luck. Finally, you reach the remaining ones that are from people with whom you actually converse or that have some relevance in your life. You read them all and save the best for last-the one that reveals the most gossip or the one that may contain the most exciting news. So, you’ve had your fix for the hour, until, wait…there remains a lonesome e-mail, sitting in the bottom of the box, begging to be opened. How could you let one slip past you? You don’t recognize the name, but it doesn’t appear to be junk mail. So, to satisfy your curiosity, you open it. People say “curiosity killed the cat,” but what do they know anyway?

You read it carefully, line by line so you don’t miss a single word. As you glance toward the bottom, you see a name you don’t recognize. You look at it again. You can’t put the name with a face if your life depended upon it.

Hmmm…you wonder, it must be one of my friends. Calling around, you get nothing, not even a hint that it is one of them. Now you have an unsolved mystery, lacking one major component to be solved: a clue! Who done it? Was it Mr. Ed in the cyberlounge with the laptop? Or was it Miss Piggy in Sheehan Hall with the IMac? Could it possibly be that you are a product of some cruel joke or do you have a secret admirer? You dare to fathom that it could be something worse. What is your next step?

You could write him or her back, but if he or she ignores your inquiry, you may be doomed to a life of never knowing. You could be skeptical of everyone you meet for the rest of your life, but that isn’t exactly a reality you wish to entertain. One can only hope that the person will come to his or her senses and confess. Until then, the unsolved mystery lies locked in the invisible box.

You, on the other hand, look at your e-mail disease in a whole new light. You’re more addicted then ever yet, you are more skeptical then ever.

When the inbox reads: “You’ve got mail” you hope that this time there will be a revelation, that this time will be different. You keep wishing you knew who it was.

People say curiosity “killed the cat.” Dammit, I think they were right!