T.I.L.T. Things I've Learned Thursday XXXV

It's been a while since my last Things I've Learned Thursday, but that doesn't mean I've stopped learning. Here's what I've got for my 35th edition:

* “Send and Receive All” is an extremely dangerous button where my work e-mail is concerned. The other day I helped a fellow art director with a simple problem; the attachment she was attempting to send was too large. With a properly compressed file, she was able to send it without a problem, but by the time I got back to my office, I hadn't received it. Now, the actual explanation is that my name had simply been left off the distribution list. But, impatient and stupid in my impatience, I hit a button I never hit. My e-mail is set to deliver automatically every five minutes, so I should have waited. The “Send and Receive All” button appeared to do nothing. Then I got an automatically generated message from a girl on maternity leave, saying she'd be out of the office for an extended period of time. Oddly enough, that message was in response to something I'd sent out three months ago. Moments later, I got a puzzled reply from another coworker, because she received an e-mail saying I'd just spoken with her on the phone about something. Then one of my writers popped her head in my office, to ask if I'd sent an e-mail about a project we'd finished months ago. Horror dawned at the prospect that I might have just sent everything in my “Sent Mail” folder out a second time. I quickly replied to the one e-mail I knew had gone out, apologizing for the glitch and telling all parties they could ignore the message. But one person replied in the interim, cc'ing someone else and saying that person was working on that mailing, without even reading the body of the e-mail. So I had to respond to someone else. Then, because I get “Read” receipts, I saw someone in our imaging studio had received yet another old e-mail, this time a batch of retouching requests. I checked our system, and saw that she had simply started downloading images to make adjustments that had already been made months ago. Quickly, I sent her an e-mail explaining the situation. How many? How many confusing duplicates had been triggered by that one button? As far as I could tell, those were the only two messages, with about 14 coworkers thinking I'd gone mad. The only common bond between the messages was that they contained attachments, and may have gotten stuck in some outbox limbo the first time I tried to send them. So those ghost copies remained even after I sent the originals, and pushing that button jarred them free after many months. Hopefully it won't happen again, but I learned to avoid that one button at some cost to my reputation as a guy who knows what he’s doing.

* My accident-prone nature may be hereditary. Last week, while on her way to visit her brother in the nursing home, my mom thought she saw the hose dripping, and assumed my dad hadn't turned the nozzle all the way. While he sat in the car waiting for her, she stepped over some rocks ringing a small garden next to the house, and tried the faucet. It was then that she slipped on a wet rock, and landed on her arm. When she didn't get back up right away, my dad knew something was wrong, and leapt out of the car to see what had happened. Long story short, when I got home from work, my dad explained that they'd gone for x-rays because my mom had fallen. She's been in pain ever since, but the diagnosis was that she'd badly bruised her ribs, and thankfully hadn't broken anything. All she can do is take some painkillers, and she'll be sore for the next few weeks while she heals. Now that I think about it, three weeks ago she was trimming some trees and stabbed herself in the forearm with a broken twig, which is extra dangerous since she's on blood thinners to treat atrial fibrillation. I guess this apple didn't fall too far from that tree.

* According to CNN, “...scholars say Obama's critics ignore a lesson from American history: Many white Americans don't like angry black men.” Wow. Maybe tomorrow they'll have an exposé about how some cats don't like dogs, or something equally groundbreaking....

* Popularity comes with a price. A while back, one of the band leaders I play for got us a job upstate for this coming Sunday. Meanwhile, the son of another band leader I play for called me on Tuesday, to see if I'd be available that same day to do a gig in the Bronx for a third band leader, one I'd worked for in the past who hadn't hired me for anything yet this season. Had he asked me before I committed to this other group, I probably would have gone. But the kicker came at the end of the voicemail, because the father and son bandleaders don't drive: “Yeah, so you could meet me an' daddy an' we'll drive in ta the Bronx together.” So those guys probably only recommended me to get a ride and avoid taking three trains. I left him a message saying I'd be out of town until late in the afternoon, and could only make the Bronx gig if it was after 6 PM. And of course, I'd have to go directly there from my first engagement, and wouldn't be able to come back out to Long Island first to pick those two up. Not surprisingly, he hasn't called me back, so I guess my name only came up because my services as a chauffeur were required.

* If you act like you always know what you're talking about, everyone will ask you everything. There's a part of me that likes being a go-to guy. My only fear is one of my darkest secrets; I don't know as much as people think I know....



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