Sometimes for fun, I will search an email address from a friend in my Gmail and pull up the oldest email I’ve ever sent to them. The results are almost always ridiculous and embarrassing and the result of a shared history online. The Internet truly is our best and worst friend.
Apparently Buzzfeed has been watching me and they charged a few innocent people with publicly sharing the first emails they ever sent. Now, technically, I cannot ever find the first email I ever sent because my first email—firstname.lastname@example.org—is locked in an MSN chasm that I have no access too. The same with a Yahoo! email address that I only made because Yahoo! addresses were briefly hip in 2002. The only email I have access to, the one with over thirty thousand messages, is the Gmail account that I made when a Freshman in college. I remember I was taking a Summer course about public speaking with a nerdy teacher who boasted that he could “get us all Gmail invites.” Thanks, dude. I took him up on that and used the account sparingly for a few years as the majority of my emails at this time were sent on university intranet IDs. In fact, I didn’t send my first message until months after opening the email.
Yet, the emails I did send are obviously ridiculous and they open the window to a world of online absurdity hidden behind closed doors. Because my first message wasn’t that great, I want you to enjoy the first five emails I have ever sent, each with some context as I remember why they were sent.
This first one is embarrassingly college and so reflective of the mid-aughts period where kids between the ages of 18 and 22 were obsessed with music from the eighties. Blame American Psycho. This is an email to my brother and the first email ever sent from my Gmail.
Date: October 20, 2005
can you make me a phil collins CD of such untouchables like ‘invisible touch‘ and ‘land of confusion‘? i have been craving those songs, and my illegal downloading program slowed up my computer so much, i had to delete it. thanks “dawg.” tomorrow we will probably have to meet up at like one or two because i have to leave at like four for the regatta. i will keep you posted. laters.
“of such untouchables”: I don’t know what that means. I do love those two songs! Also, “my illegal downloading program.” How great is that? That and the word dawg.
This next email is all rowing references because I was deeply involved with rowing in college. It’s all very “inside baseball,” sent to Jen—a higher up on the team—about something I don’t remember. Yet, I do know that this never actually came to pass so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Date: October 24, 2005
hey – i believe that this guy Freddie and I are going to be rowing the double from now on. I want to row it as a pair to perfect our rowing technique and now scull and eff up our sweep rowing technique. If we were to make it as a pair, do we have to put new riggers on to use sweep oars? or just take one rigger off on each side and still use the scull oars? no idea. it will be fun, regardless of the circumstances. we’ll see what happens. so, how are things? rowing? relationships? anything else? i’ll have to call you soon. we’ll talk laters. you have fun, be safe, and e-mail soon!
This one was to a good friend who transferred out of the school I was rowing for who used to row with me. Also, I don’t know what this “major trouble” is but I am so intrigued. Wish I could find the fucking email with that story.
Subject: (no subject)
Date: November 16, 2005
…yeah, we won’t be able to get in the double for a while because I got in some major trouble with the team and am on restriction from using Georgia State equipment until further notice. Sorry about that, dawg.
This one is great and absolutely the most embarrassing. It’s to one of my high school English teachers who I am still dear friends with. Also, “laugh laugh” and “bro bro.” I guess this was pre-useage of “HAHAHAHAHA” and just “bro”? Unsure. This is a great example ofmid-aughts public school teachers’ inability to use emails. You should also know that none of these emails got responses. Maybe no one was regularly emailing in 2005?
Date: November 27, 2005
To: [name redacted]
Hey lady –
lunch was a lot of fun. i really, really enjoyed myself (and half of your burrito!). Was I really acting out of character/weird? I thought about our lunch stuffs, and I remember you said something to the extent of “you don’t make me laugh like you used to.” I’m sorry – I guess college has turned me into a grizzled, twentysomething! laugh laugh…let’s hope not – that would be bad. then you can call me [name redacted]. next time i won’t dissapoint. alright, in the real reason i e-mailed, do you have mrs. [name redacted]’s contact information? i’ve been trying to e-mail her, but i always get a “failed” message: i have been sending her messages to [name redacted]@boe.richmond.k12.ga.us , and it seems like i am throwing rocks at a brick wall. just let me know, and that can help get that transfer train a movin’. thanks. you have fun, be safe, and e-mail soon!
p.s. my mom always wants me to ask you how the situation is with your bro-bro whom she married. she wants to know if they’ve divorced yet, because you made her think they would be over in like a week.
p.p.s. my mom really, really enjoyed the mrs. [name redacted] story about the wind that i relayed to her. my mom concurs – mother [name redacted] was in the PTA.
This is also great and a cute “Hey! I’m trying to be cool!” note to my older brother which, again, gets a little bit aggressively wannabe by talking about Jens Lekman at a time when no one cared about him. (Do people still care about him?) I’m also impressed that this email allowed me attach the song in question. I am sure I “illegally downloaded” it, too.
Subject: Listen to this—
Date: December 6, 2005
First off, you have seen the movie “Mask” with Eric Stolz and Cher, yes? That’s what I thought. This song is about the affair/relationship that Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz) and the “blind girl” (Laura Dern). It is awesome. You have to listen to it. Download this guy’s whole album. Sweedish fantastic. I am addicted to this song. If you watch the movie and familarize yourself with it and listen to this song, you will understand his lyrical and comedic power (see also: his song “Maple Leaves (7′ Version),” about the power of miscommunication: the chorus goes “She said we were just make believe/But I thought she said maple leaves”…so funny). You have to download that song, too. If you don’t like it, you get no graduation present. There. I said it. No gift, if no like. Talk to you later.
p.s. I may be going to Ikea this sunday for christmas shopping. early. you down? let me know.
I can’t wait to look at this post in ten years and get embarrassed by the writing of this post and subsequently these old emails. Thank you, Internet time machine.