Sincerely Yours

You know that there’s something wrong with the government reading your emails. But do you know what to think when they respond to an email? Even more, to an email that wasn’t even sent to them? That’s right: You don’t. That was exactly my problem. But let me start from the beginning.

It was a nice and pleasant Sunday. Nothing much was going on, I was sitting at my favorite coffee shop. Reading, writing, the usual. The weather was nice, not too hot, not too cold. As I said, a very pleasant day. And, as it usually goes, I also wrote some emails. Nothing special, some words to friends and family and minor business stuff. Now, here I have to say that I usually proof-read  my emails before I sent them. You really don’t want to embarrass yourself by having a typo. I don’t care what today’s kids and teens say: For me, writing is still something that should be taken seriously, especially if you have time to read it over before sending. What’s making things even worse these days is the auto-correct function. You’ve seen the hilarious auto-corrects on cell phones, so I don’t have to tell you what I am talking about. The latest installment was an email I received from a friend. He couldn’t sleep and so decided to write a little and send the story to me. His email began with “I couldn’t go to sleep write away”. I hope you are getting the humor here.

But anyway, you really want to try and eliminate mistakes before sending an email, because if you are like me, you’ll discover the mistake a split-second after you hit “send”. Fortunately, Google came to the rescue here and added an “undo” feature for emails, meaning you can grab your rope and lasso that email back in before it gets out into the big, wide world known as the internet. Believe me when I say that this feature has saved my butt more than once. So there I was, sipping my coffee and lazily browsing when I heard the little ping indicating a new email. I went over to gmail and saw an email titled “Re: Your application with company XY.” I was intrigued. After all, it was Sunday and usually not even  very, very desperate companies react to applications on a Sunday. I opened the email and saw my original text, only that a part of one sentence was underlined in red. Huh? Below the email was a comment, also in red.

“Dear Sender, We are writing to you to inform you about the grammatical error you made in your email. This is a new service that we have recently implemented to point out mistakes like this so you may be able to rectify the mistake somehow. It has recently been decided that, because we intercept and store every email, we should give back to the citizens of this country by helping them to improve their writing. Please be aware that this service is only available to U.S. citizens within the United States right now. We are working hard to offer this service globally very soon but, as you know, negotiations have been really tough. We hope that you will find this service useful. Sincerely Yours, NSA.