I spent part of today sending several email messages to some technical contacts and mid-level executives at one of our "strategic partners" - a company dedicated to research and development in electronics and computer technology who shall remain nameless.

As sometimes happens in these business relationships, we have some different expectations and some communications issues to iron out before everything can proceed smoothly. It's part of my job¹ to grease the wheels of progress.

We also have some technical hurdles to overcome. Several of today's missives were aimed at clarifying specific technical concerns. A couple of times over, in one case. But we're all working towards the same goal so one smiles and tries again.

However, the subconscious mind is a terrible thing.

I don't have a fixed .sig file, preferring to close with whatever salutation comes to mind. In dealing with external contacts, I have a fully qualified .sig that I use at first, but normally I relax after repeated contact and just finish like so:

Regards,
Lord Brawl²

So ... today I was explaining something for the second time. I wrote the email, added my salutation, reread the email for sense, tone and correctness. All seemed well. And as I was about to press "SEND" my peripheral vision reported this:

Retards,
Lord Brawl²

I jerked my hand away from the mouse and the SEND button as though it was suddenly scalding hot. And then I laughed for a while, changed the 't' to a 'g' and sent the email. But I can only imagine what our esteemed partners would have thought. They might have suspected a Freudian slip. And they might have been right, too.

I confess my nearly-executed foible so that you might laugh at my mistake, but also learn from it. The letters 't' and 'g' are co-located on the standard QWERTY keyboard. And my incorrect work would have been cheerily approved by the spell checker.

Do not make my mistake. Read every word you write before you send that email. The job you save may be your own.


1. As some of you may know, I was once a productive member of society. Somewhere along the line in the transition from programmer to Team Lead to "Development Manager" I lost that. Today I spend most of my time as an intelligent email router. Sigh.
2. Name changed to protect the guilty.

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