Sometimes, after an email exchange has gone on for about six or seven volleys, I get familiar with the subject line. It becomes quirkily familiar even after it has long lost its relevance to the conversation now unfolding over the internets.
For example, a recent and comparatively brief series of emails now goes about my inbox under the chuckleworthy banner of "the twittercaust." The discussion, though, has now evolved entirely to a chat about a friend's admission to grad schools.
Another series involving several individuals and a good number of email exchanges waltzes in and out of the top spot in the mailbox blaring "We Are Part of the Problem" - and I have to pause ever so briefly each time I see it pop up once again. Are we? Really? Oh wait. The thread of conversation has passed on from piracy long ago.
Then there's the headline that makes me cringe - the 15 email monster with the moniker "Forrest queries." I shudder to think that it might rear its head once more.
It's funny how certain titles come to carry embedded Pavlovian stimuli. I get eager any time I see "a little treat" reappear. The sudden appearance of "hey" after another months-long interval gets me mildly interested, but not expecting too much. And if "Wisconsin Night" bursts forth from the slumbering depths, I know I will soon be laughing out loud.
It's hard not love the comaraderie and micro-community that comes with being privy to these punching bag dolls that keeping bouncing back up into your life - even if you've punched them down. And oftentimes, even when you haven't landed a blow at all.
So make them memorable, your subject lines. Spike them. Spice them up. You might be seeing them again. Or forever.
Now, if you'll excuse me, "Question," long unanswered, has just arrived.