Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Things that Give Sober Men Pause

E-mail and the interweb are big sources of entertainment...and I’m not talking about cat videos, entertaining as those are. No, I mean the regular stuff that lands in my inbox or otherwise drifts across my monitor. Like what, you ask? Why, I just happen to have some examples!

First, another item for our Did Nobody Read This Before it Got Sent Out? category (previous entries may be found here, here, and here:

As you will not, even though the authors of this survey did not, all of their age categories overlap. It so happens that I am 54: do I chose 45-54. which includes my age, or 54-60,, includes my age? Even though I am a few days past the halfway mark to my next birthday, I decided to chose 45-54, as you see. But had someone taken two seconds to think about it, he or she would have edited out the overlaps.

Now here’s this handy “Helps and Hints” box from a student aid form that we filled out last weekend:

Ah, I see: When it asks for “student’s first name,” we must “enter the student’s first name.” My, that is helpful to know! But “Helps and Hints” doesn’t tell us what to do if we happened to have given our child a name that doesnt “contain only letters (A-Z), numbers (0-9), periods (.), or blanks (spaces)”—you know, if we named our kids J@net or £loyd or something. Apparently “Helps and Hints” only take you so far.

The strangeness of Twitter—and the whole social networking arena—is practically without limit, but this notice that landed in my inbox a day or two ago is the most intriguing one I’ve seen in quite some time. And by “intriguing,” I of course mean “strange”:

So this very attractive young woman (if in fact it is a woman, or young. The person in the picture is both of those things, but you’ll have to take my word for it, and one has no way of knowing whether various profile photos are legit or scanned from a magazine) wants to meet “anyone in the Baltimore area,” even though she seems to live in Indianapolis. Huh. Well, she does say she’s new to “the area,” so maybe she just landed in Baltimore and hasn’t yet changed her profile to reflect that. Okay. But here’s the next puzzler: As of the day this arrived in my mailbox, she had posted a grand total of two, count ’em, two tweets...and yet she somehow has 107 followers! I get that there’s a whole contingent of Twitterers for whom the object of the game is to amass as many followers as possible, no matter what (quantity trumps quality, evidently), and that supposedly there is a bizarre etiquette (to which I do not subscribe: see here) that says if someone follows you you are honor bound to follow back. But why would I be the least bit interested in following someone who doesn’t seem to tweet anything? I don’t get it at all.

But I bet by now she has twice as many followers.

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