Thursday, April 20, 2017

E-Mail Calamity and Laura Nyro

We had a little incident at work yesterday in which a guy mistakenly sent an e-mail chain of medium sensitivity to, literally, the entire school. Or at least all the employees. It popped up in my e-mail box and I began reading it, thinking, "I don't think I was supposed to get this." And then, like any nosey reporter, I kept on reading right to the bottom.

Then a second e-mail arrived advising us that the previous e-mail contained "personal information" and should be deleted. Not only was it too late, in my case, but telling people that an e-mail contains something they shouldn't see is a sure-fire way to get them to read it. He should have just said "disregard my previous e-mail" and left it at that.

I did feel bad for the guy, though. It's such an easy mistake to make.

I don't think I've ever done it in a work context, but back in the mid-'90s, when the Internet was new, I once wrote an incredibly personal e-mail to a guy I knew. He and I had a fling at a journalism convention, and I wrote him about our time together, and then somehow sent the e-mail to everyone in my address book! Because the Internet was new, this wasn't many people -- maybe ten -- but I remember my mother was on the list. I was mortified. Several of the addresses were already out of date, including hers (thank God). I called the others up and asked them to delete the e-mail, and they said they did, but even then I was pretty certain they probably read it first.


In other news, I read an article in the Guardian pointing out that it's been 20 years since songwriter Laura Nyro died. Do you know her? I remember being shocked at the time because she was only 49. (Younger than I am now!) She wrote several songs that were big hits in the late '60s and early '70s for The Fifth Dimension, like "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Save the Country." I was an ardent fan of The Fifth Dimension in high school (despite the fact that they broke up in 1975 and everyone around me was listening to Devo and Billy Idol), so I knew her work well.

I remember trading computer messages with a copy editor at work about Nyro's sad, untimely death. This copy editor and I had a somewhat contentious working relationship, but this was one subject we bonded over. I expressed embarrassment about my infatuation with The Fifth Dimension. "Oh, but they made some great harmonies," she said.

(I still have about six Fifth Dimension albums in my iTunes.)

Nyro was an amazing pianist and singer herself. Her album "New York Tendaberry," from 1969, is one of my favorites.

(Photo: A cafe in Walthamstow, East London.)


  1. Spoilsport Steve! Your devoted readers would have loved to read that slightly incriminating e-mail. Let's hope that your careless colleague doesn't send one out about you - it could be the basis of a headline story in "The Sun".

  2. When I was in college at the University of Denver, I made a friend from NYC and she turned me on to Laura Nyro. I still have two of her albums and oh! the memories they hold.
    Not especially good ones, but deep ones. Nyro was amazingly evocative.
    And hey! The Fifth Dimension was part of the whole colorful palette of the times. What a gorgeous stew of music we had to choose from then!

  3. I have always been a fan of Nyro and her work. Seriously talented and I also loved humming along to the Fifth Dimension, so you are not alone. As for mistakes when e=mailing, I've only ever had one erroneously sent to me and it wasn't from you...

  4. I experienced an email snafu similar to that when I replied to an email thinking is was going to only one person when it went to the person we were conversing about. I was mortified.
    I did not know Laura Nyro but, I'm sure I knew her songs. I loved the Fifth Dimension too.

  5. I loved the Fifth Dimension. And I've never had the email snafu but I can't tell you how many times I have been texting with two or three people at once, and I send a text to the wrong person. The worst was when I was totally telling a friend about a budding romance in my daughter's life, and I sent the text to my daughter! Given the benevolence of the friend it was intended for, she only laughed. But embarrassing!

  6. don't think I've ever sent out a mass email but I have sent emails to the wrong person. Some ignore you and some kindly let you know that your email didn't get to where it was supposed to go.

  7. I've only done this once, and it was an innocuous email sent to the wrong person in my list, not to everyone ... but I used to dread it happening. So I decided I would only ever write personal emails that wouldn't do any harm if they went astray!! Now for work this can't necessarily be done, but maybe that's where using a telephone or face-to-face conversation comes in handy.

  8. Just the other night I posted on Facebook that I didn't know how I was going to get to sleep with Aquarius in my head - ha! We've got a Fifth Dimension 2 CD greatest hits set - love it!

  9. I once sent a text to the wrong kind of slagged off the recipient!
    How bloody dreadful

  10. YP: Believe me, it would mean nothing outside our organization. Even to The Sun, and they'll write about almost anything.

    Ms Moon: The 5D does definitely embody that late-'60s period!

    E: Yeah, I don't think you were on my list back then!

    Ellen: Yes, be very glad. And be aware of the risk!

    Sharon: You've definitely heard her songs, even if you haven't heard her singing them. They've been covered by tons of very famous performers.

    37P: I hadn't really thought about the risks while texting! I guess I don't often text with multiple people simultaneously. I can see how that would be dangerous!

    Red: As long as it's not a sensitive e-mail, no harm done, right?

    Jenny-O: It's a truism of the Internet that you should never put in writing anything you wouldn't say to someone's face, because these things DO tend to get around.

    Bug: Aquarius! What a great song! We're still waiting for that hopeful, magical time, aren't we?! I have that 2-CD set, too! Along with numerous individual albums.

    John: Dreadful indeed!