Divorce, Cyberspace Style!


A client came to me with an interesting dilemma. He was in the midst of a painful, somewhat acrimonious divorce, and to help himself through these difficult times, he would write long, heartfelt letters to his estranged wife and then — NOT SEND THEM. Instead, he would send them to himself.

In doing this, he was following a fine tradition of unsent communications; FDR used to write angry letters to Churchill and Stalin, and then file them away in his desk, never to be sent. Had they been, these incendiary notes might have launched World War III, hot on the heels of the one before it.

Anyway, one of these not-meant-to-be-sent letters was accidentally sent to his wife, and he was slapped with a law suit for harassment or something. He came to me because he really hadn’t meant to send the letter — he routinely sent them to himself, and only himself, instead — and wondered what happened, and wanted to know if I could help establish that the letter was sent by accident.

I looked into the matter, and determined that his e-mail system’s “auto-fill” function contained two entries that began with the letter “M” — one was “ME,” the nickname for his own e-mail address, which he used whenever he wanted to send letters to himself, the other was “MXXXXX@AOL.COM,” his wife’s e-mail address. Yes, by unhappy coincidence, both his e-mail address shortcut (nickname), and his wife’s e-mail address, began with the letter “M.” It was a one in 26 shot, but there it was.


Knowing this, we were able to establish that he typed the letter “M,” intending to send the message to “ME,” but that his wife’s e-mail address automatically came up instead, and in the fury of creation and anguish and emotion and so on, he accepted his wife’s e-mail address (as offered by his e-mail program) without really noticing it. He may even have composed the letter first, as some of my clients do, and addressed it at the last minute, meaning that the erroneous address may have actually been on-screen for only a very short period of time…and, hence, easily-missed.

Unusual, sure, but all in a day’s work here at The Computer Guru! If you need an excellent new or refurbished computer system, or repairs or upgrades to your existing system (PC or MAC), or answers or advice, I can help. At the very least, I can help you find an excellent marriage counselor!  

LATE-BREAKING GOOD NEWS!   The client dropped by today and informed me that my “very clear, very persuasive letter” convinced the District Attorney to drop this charge against him, which saved him from heavy fines and a possible jail term!

Can you say “above and beyond the call of duty?”

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