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by Dale Connelly, 5/26/00

Dc: This is DCR, a news program that's reality free.
The recent rash of viruses that invade a computer and use a person's e-mail address book to spread themselves around has led to a tricky etiquette question. With me is E-Etiquette Expert, Dean Brusk.
Hello, Dean.

Dean: (rude) Yah. Let's get on with it.

Dc: In the culture of e-mail and the Internet, it seems the rules have changed about what's polite and what isn't, and …

Dean: Everybody knows that. It's not even an issue. Next?

Dc: So … the question is … how do you apologize to someone if they get an e-mail from you with a virus attached?

Dean: Why would you do something stupid like that?
Send a virus, that's pretty thoughtless.

Dc: You never intend it to happen, but let's say this virus got into your computer and sent itself to everyone you know.

Dean: I would never be dumb enough to open up an attachment if I didn't know what was in it.

Dc: Let's say it happened, and people get upset …

Dean: Upset? If it were me getting this virus, I'd hate your guts. All my files are on my computer. My records. My livelihood! My life!

Dc: It's imaginary at this point.

Dean: That's no excuse.

Dc: So … what should a person say in a case like this?

Dean: I have no idea.

Dc: You're the expert on E-etiquette!

Dean: So?

Dc: If you don't know what to say, who …?

Dean: That's why we have a greeting card industry. They make billions!
Go to the store and buy something. Sign your name and send it.

Dc: So you'd use the postal service?

Dean: (scoffs) Nobody's going to want E-mail from you!
You're an idiot!

Dc: Still, I don't think the greeting card industry has addressed this yet.

Dean: No. They're "old economy." But it won't be long before somebody comes up with a sappy little rhyme or two to try to gloss over the enormity of what you've done. I can already hear them!

Dc: Uh huh. Can you give us some … examples?

Dean: Examples, right. Fat chance. You want me to dribble out some sugary sweet nonsense that you could steal? Well I won't!

Dc: Maybe if some of our listeners have an idea of what to say, you could react to that.

Dean: Trashing other people's stuff? Sure.

Dc: We've got somebody on the line. Hello?

Tarara: Hello?

Dc: Hello. Who is this?

Tarara: This is Tarara?

Dc: Hello Tarara. Did you accidentally spread this virus?

Tarara: Yes I did.

Dc: And you've written something as an apology that you want to share?

Tarara: Yes. I sent this to everyone in my address book:

I am your friend, but I did fail you
` Your computer is sick. To no avail you
tried to fix it but fell in vain.
I grieve for your data,
I feel your pain.

Dc: Wow, nice! What do you think, Dean?

Dean: In a few words … cliché, insincere, lousy, useless, garbage.

Tarara: (cries)

Dean: And self-absorbed.

Dc: Well you made our listener cry! What kind of etiquette expert are you?

Dean: It's E-etiquette, OK? We don't have time for sensitivity. It's not my job to make everyone happy. It's not my job to make ANYONE happy.

Dc: We've got another caller. Hello?

Bob: (phone) It's me, Bob. I've got a card here that I sent out, 'cause I also made a mistake and sent the virus.

Dc: OK. Let's hear it.

Bob: I wish I'd rejected
Or somehow suspected
and quickly corrected
that thing on the spot.

But I was infected
before I detected
the bug that protected
against … I was not.

Sorry. Your pal, Bob.

Dc: Very nice Bob. Dean?

Dean: Yeah, real witty, but who cares? You just fried their whole hard drive, so why would anyone be impressed with how clever you are?
Unless you're clever enough to undo the damage, which you're NOT. Loser!

Dc: We have time for one more. Sue is with us. Hello? You're on the air!

Sue: I agree with your smug little guest that the rules of e-mail etiquette are different. With e-mail you let it all hang out. There's no face to face so forget being polite, you know?

Dean: Yeah? Well I agree with you but your opinion stinks anyway, so get out.

Sue: Fat chance.

Dc: Did you spread the virus and write an apology?

Sue: I did.

I'm a dope and so are you.
Fell for the bug.
And you did too.

Curse me a little, curse me a lot.
Kinda felt sorry
But then I forgot. .

Dc: Well … that's interesting Sue. How did you …

(sfx: dial tone)

Dc: She's gone.

Dean: Of course she is. She's got other things to do.

Dc: That's …

Dean: Fantastic. That's the kind of card I would send.
It captures that E-attitude the others were missing.

Dc: It's cruel and hurtful and condescending.

Dean: Yes, when you find the right card, it's a great feeling. It's like sending a little piece of yourself. And that's always good manners.

Dc: Our E-Etiquette expert, Dean Brusk. Thanks, Dean.

Dean: You don't mean that.


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