Monday, September 01 2003

I often resist and fail the urge to send instant messages that start off with any of the following or more:

“Dude, I got bit by a wild animal just now…”
“Hey, you busy? I need to show you a picture of my swollen ankle.”
“I figured out why my eyes were bleeding.”
“Someone just threw a spear at me.”
“I just saw [celebrity] picking a wedgie”
“Did I mention the story about the seagull?”
“I’m watching a bank robbery”
“You’d never guess what just hit my windshield”
“When they say flame retardent, they mean it!”

None of them are ever completely true, or even close to true for that matter, but I can’t think of any other way to kickstart an instant message conversation. I have this problem. I will look at my buddy list for a good five minutes fighting myself. It usually goes like this:

“You have nothing important to say to this person. They’re probably working. They might be up using the toilet. Maybe they’re on the phone. Don’t disturb them. You’re just trying to find a diversion. Get back to work.”

It’s the fantastic lines that win the arguments with myself. “But if I talk about how I just saw a man jack hammer his foot clean off, then whatever I’ve interrupted will seem less important. Everyone wants to hear about something gruesome or fantastic.”

So the secret is out. If I send you a message, just humour my delusions. Say “Wow, no kidding” and “Gee, that must have been scary” or “Good thing you aren’t allergic”, etc. Follow that up with “Now don’t you have work to do?” or “I’m sorry, a fork lift just drove through my office wall. I’ll have to listen to your story about how you fell into an eight foot deep pit and couldn’t get out for a week another time.” Counter attack with guilt or something else fantastic or impossible. I won’t mind.