I Admit It – I Need Help!



That’s me stomping on my virtual mail and wishing I could just wipe out all of my emails with one swish of my magic wand.

Oh, woe woe woe is me. I should be grateful I’m not looking at an actual avalanche of mail. So here I stand at the lectern in front of you confessing that I – yes I – am an email hoardoholic. I have lost complete control over my emails and I hate that I have to admit that. I feel like a virtual hoarder living in a virtual world filled with 27,241 emails begging to be read. Can you imagine what my home would look like if all of those emails were actual pieces of mail? Picture 27,241 envelopes sitting on a desktop.

It’s like a virus that keeps spreading. I find a smidgen of time to read only a couple before I’m interrupted – by a phone call – by a thought – by a grandchild – by a wisp of dust – by anything, really. And they mount and they mount and they continue to mount higher and higher – and the really sad thing is that what you see above is a number for only ONE of my email addresses – the worst one. How would I EVER find the time to read that many emails? And how did it get so out of control?

I’ll tell you how. My mother is partly to blame. Years ago when she first ventured into the Internet, she would send me EVERYTHING she received. By the following year, when I had received duplicates of everything she had sent me the year before, I kept them – all of them!


And sometimes I think – oh, jeesh, that email is just way too long – I’ll have to get back to it later. But later, as it turns out, means possibly in 2050, when I’m in my late 90s, so I have 30 more years to accumulate emails.

Oh, it’s a problem, all right. Pretty soon Yahoo is going to have to order a server just for me. They might even start charging me rent.

So I started thinking – what’s going to happen to all of my emails when I die? Will Yahoo and Google and Mail all be informed of my untimely death and stop sending me emails? Will my children inherit them and have to sift through them the way they’ll have to clean out decades of drawings, some of which are scribbles with no names, because I couldn’t throw out anything that any of my kids or grandkids gave to me? Come on! They came accompanied with, “I love you.” How can I throw out anything with sentimental value?

And what will I do with my PayPal account? Seriously, I think about these things all the time, and as I think about them, my emails continue to grow. When I started to write this yesterday, I emptied my Trash folder and my Spam folder. Today the number of emails is up to 27,309, my Spam folder has 36 and my Trash folder holds 52.

Why don’t you just get rid of your email, you ask? I can’t. Yahoo is the email address that connects to so many of my important programs and bills. Should I just say goodbye to Etsy and eBay and Best Buy and Papa John’s and ToysRUs and CafePress and Groupon – oh, who am I kidding – with gifts to buy year-round for 17 grandkids, I need to know about SALES.

And so I leave the podium with my head drooped low and ask you to forgive me for being an email hoardoholic. It’s a disease.


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