Hello Jim. Nothing says “hello and goodbye” as succinctly as a message that begins confidently in black and is otherwise entirely copy-and-pasted from somewhere else, does it, Jimbo? It says I care about you enough to customize two words of this email, and not a single one more. The reused text has ripened to a ludicrous purple while making its way through the tubes of Outlook. A forensic determination takes less than a second, lit up by prints from your dirty sausage fingers that have carried over a different font size in the rich-text-format metadata.

“hElP!” cries out the unholy mix of font colors and sizes, “this email was originally written for someone else.” Cover letters that have been spot-customized begin to read like a hostage letter. Sunny epistles shared among long-distance friends take the shape of accursed chain letters. Workplace bulletins reveal which analysts collated their division’s update
on their phone
the hairdresser.

Push your luck too far and Gmail has been known to collapse an entire pasted message into a lethal
****show quoted text****
widget that all but deposits your body into a coffin marked
****here lies Maria, for whom you were the ninth choice when it came to sending this pitch.****

You screwed up, Jim. You sent a lifted passage that is haunted by an off-white background
|| and nudged to the right, so
|| the more times you copy it
|| the deeper you go
|| into email purgatory.

You’d like to laugh it off with a sweaty-faced smiley (“☐”), but the transmission of your message several times over has turned the unicode symbol into a box. Deeper and deeper you go, exposed as a plagiarist of your own faff. (“☐☐☐”) Amateur hour, J J J .

The incompatibility of different email providers and baseline level of eye strain felt by anyone using a screen to work mean that right now in the U.S., there are approximately 45,000 people tilting their laptop screen back and forth to determine whether there is a shadow hovering over the fresh strategy notes a colleague sent, and whether there is a band of blue-grey font running across a strata of black text from a lover. Something, they feel, is definitely amiss. It’s a pox, Jim-Jams.

A POX ON ALL OUR HOUSES. But it didn’t have to happen!!! You could have copy-and-pasted the text in using Ctrl+Shift+V, coulda shook off the non-web-safe fonts like a zig-zagging getaway car.

There was more than one exit off this highway to hell, you sorry clown. You could have highlighted all (Ctrl+A) and selected the “remove formatting button,” which in Gmail looks like a crossed-out T—a T taking off its pants, Jimmy!!

You could have “painted format” over the secondhand text with the paint-roller symbol. Why didn’t you do it???

Remember the good emails, son. I didn’t want to have to do this, you know that. I loved you like family, but you left me no other choice than to

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