There is a long history of the "letter of demand." Frightening examples exist such as the above note which if you can get close enough is sure to give you chills.
Lately, emails of demands have become the norm for my inbox, even from people who are generally civil in the face-to-face world. And they give me chills.
I am a busy, dedicated person and as such I am involved in a great many interactions with various sets of people. Among these, it is inevitable for a Horribly Rude person to appear. Horribly Rude need not include belching and farting in close proximity to others. In fact, for me, these acts pale in rudeness compared to a Horribly Rude email.
A Horribly Rude email is one in which the author has climbed up the spiral and gold staircase of their ego far up into the tower of their self-defined kingdom and shouts down from on high a command to me, who in this scenario is a lowly peasant clearing some straw fallen from the rag-sellers pony-drawn cart after the market has closed.
Hey, peasant! the email seems to read. Or perhaps more realistically, Hey, stupid!
The more involved I become in trying to make the world a better place, the more of these I seem to receive. I receive them from people I have met and people I have not met. I receive them from people who are actually central to my life I can't disclose for fear of receiving such an email as herein I am discussing.
We all have our ego towers, our toddler-minds wherefrom the view of anybody else only threatens our domain of lego pieces and cheese sandwiches. The purpose of learning how to write, a process which extends from toddlerhood hopefully into adulthood, is to communicate with civility.
This gets lost on people when they are at the U.S.S. Enterprise Bridge of their laptop keyboard.
From that place, letters of the alphabet become lasers fired at advancing Klingon spacecraft.
Give me this.
I need you to . . .
I am fortunate enough to have arrived in a work environment where emails are always wonderfully civil. No matter what mistake I have made or what madcap favor I have requested or idea proposed, I am assured a kind and respectful reply. It is why I will probably stay in this environment forever. The civility allows me to feel safe and humanized and valued.
Others have not found this place and emerge from situations where language, digital and otherwise, has been weaponized, places where keyboards and send-keys are the desktop equivalent of triggers on guns. When I receive these missile-missives, my brain jars. I recoil.
Anyone who knows me knows I am unashamed of my sensitivity when it comes to how words are used. I love the greeting (Dear Laura . . . ) and the hope that this finds me well. I love the bit of information about the sender's ongoings, the state of their children or business. I want to know what time of day they are sitting at their desk and thinking of me, and then I like the information to chortle forth from the context like a pearl from the tasty oyster (actually, I dislike oysters but the metaphor demands some play-acting here) for me to hold, consider, then place in a setting in the form of my reply. Instead I often receive the razor husk that cuts on contact.
And write replies I never send.