One night a couple weeks ago, K was relaxing while I finished up writing some stuff. She had picked a Netflix series called ‘Explained.’ Specifically, the episode about (wait for it)… exclamation marks. Coincidentally, I had just seen this Instagram post by Tim Urban (aka the Wait But Why guy). I’m haunted by exclamation marks, so I stopped what I was doing and settled in next to her to watch.
It kicked off with the narrator saying: ‘Every day around the world millions struggle with the same question… two exclamation points or not two exclamation points.’
Those simple little upside-down lowercase i’s can be friendly or, well, too friendly. They can lighten the tone or make you seem unprofessional. If you don’t use them? Maybe you’re just mean. Heck, Elaine got dumped over exclamation marks in a classic episode of Seinfeld.
I relate with Tim Urban’s dilemma and tend to follow the one-exclamation-mark-per-email not-a-rule rule. That’s me. What should you do? Sorry, I can’t really help except to offer, as the Netflix episode ended (spoiler), anything kind of goes.
* That use of three ! was 100% intentional as I felt it accurately represented my feelings on the matter…
I was on a call this week with a bunch of alumni from the OIA Future Leadership Academy. Whitney Conner Clapper from Patagonia was sharing her story of how she got from growing up in a college town across the Mississippi River from St. Louis to now. As she started explaining what she did for Patagonia, she talked about working with folks who run non-profits. Something she mentioned about them struck me:
She said how grassroots organization leaders work a full day, put the kids to bed, and then get to work doing what needs to be done for their non-profits.
Her point was they needed help, and that’s where she came in. But I was stuck on that thought about what I did after Katie and I put Sefton to bed. For me, it runs the gamut from definitely putting in hours for Sendline (like I am now, in fact) to working on house or creative projects to sometimes, yeah, relaxing.
The question I’m throwing out to consider is what do you do after you put your kids to bed? This actually doesn’t require you to have kids. Short of literally doing that, in other words, what do you do when you have a break from what you think you needed to do?
This also isn’t about cramming in productivity from the minute you wake up until you go to sleep. It’s okay to relax. I just thought it was a cool way to think about how I spend my downtime and thought I’d share.
A while ago, my older brother Cosmo posted about email on his blog. A sort of History of My Email Frequency story. He confessed:
I’ve always loved email, ever since that day in college when I learned it was possible to send messages around the world… for free!
My brother is kind of a dork. Even if he won’t admit it, which I’m pretty confident he would, I can say that because I’m his little brother. Case in point: ‘for fun’ (his words, not mine), he built a chart of his email history, dating back more than twenty years. Something about it struck me, besides the fact he sent a lot of emails:
I take way too much time stressing over every word I say.
From what I remember, email was first used as a way of communicating short bits of information between universities. Keyword being ‘short.’ It seems safe to assume that ‘short’ could also imply ‘curt.’ But humans are weird and read into the words and punctuation, and email has naturally evolved as it’s become more of a staple way of communicating to anyone and everyone.
Enter me, grappling with word choice, triple-checking that I spelled a name right, and generally taking far too long to write an email. Not that any of those are bad things. Well, except for the third one. If I have any chance of hitting my brother’s peak of fifty-two emails per day, I need to be faster at choosing what I say and checking it twice. Also, not stressing so much about if I make a mistake.
It’s not, well, ever that our little town of Wenatchee, Washington makes national headlines. As proof, a search for ‘Wenatchee’ on the New York Times yields about ten results: one from 1995, another from 1972, and the rest from the 1950s and earlier. Frankly, this is just too good to pass up.
It got 60k upvotes on Reddit. The same number of retweets on the ol’ Twitter. The BBC did a whole segment. It’s so good, the late show hosts also, well, couldn’t pass it up: Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel.
The musician-in-a-bag solution from the band teacher, Eric Anderson, is so creative I’m going to award him the #leadershipindisguise hashtag award. Which means now I need to come up with that award. In the meantime, it’s a proud moment to be a Wenatcheean. I’m not convinced that’s a thing. Or even a word.
Why am I sharing this? Because these Friday randomnesses are, well, supposed to be random. Also, as Jimmy Fallon put it: ‘Because it’s funny.’