Dear Uncle Ted,
What do you think about the new Mail Goggles feature from Google Mail?
– Norris Chucksworth, Nome-Ridicolo, FL
Norris – This is, without question, the greatest single innovation in email since the emoticon. Who knows how many tears cried, hearts broken, jobs lost and restraining orders issued could have been saved if only it had come along sooner?
For those of you who haven’t heard yet, the premise is simple: during certain hours of the week (oh, say, in the wee hours of Friday and Saturday nights) whenever you, a Mail Goggles-enabled user, tries to send a pig-latin love sonnet to that cute account executive you were flirting with over lemon drop shots at the bar at the Marriott, Gmail responds with this message in a pop-up window:
“It’s that time of day. Gmail aims to help you in many ways. Are you sure you want to send this? Answer some simple math problems to verify.”
A timer begins counting down, and if you don’t take some deep breaths, slap yourself a few times, squint at the screen and do some adding and subtracting – all within 60 seconds – you’re prompted to try again. And, if the account exec was particularly charming, most likely again and again – until you realize the minor indignity of being told by an email program that you’re too f*cked up to type or do simple sums is nothing when compared to your co-workers asking you on Monday if you’re still eeply-day in-way ove-lay.
To be honest – I don’t think the questions are NEARLY hard enough. The really determined, enamored drunk will figure out, after a few tries, that a calculator at the ready is the only thing standing between him or her and truly mortifying embarrassment. Maybe some truly difficult questions are in order, Google Labs developers? Like:
- Has your whole adult life been a lie?
- Do you eat like you do because you don’t have anything else good in your life?
- Do you think God knows what you did to that sheep and is still punishing you for it, all these years later?
- Are the voices still telling you to kill Mrs. Schwartz?
- Have you stored the plastic explosive in a cool, dry, non-conductive container?
Sobering questions like these will keep bad poetry out of our outboxes, Google-Peeps. Think about it.