This happened a few days ago. It’s quite embarrassing, I’ll say that up front. Fortunately, there are gradations of embarrassment, the most embarrassing, for me, being this. When I was, maybe, five, my parents had a party and at bedtime, my older brother and I were brought downstairs to say goodnight to the company. As I was about to say my “Goodnight”, to a crowd of about thirty people, my brother pulled down my pajama bottoms.
That stands at the top of the embarrassment pole. In a way, I should thank my brother, since, by comparison, every other embarrassment has been….no, I don’t think I will.
So okay, this is less embarrassing than having my pajama bottoms pulled down. But it’s still pretty bad.
If you’ve been following my, to date, two-week blogging adventure, you’re aware of the fact that technologically, I have no idea what I’m doing. I mean, look at my blog. No “About Me”, no pictures, forget about sound – I don’t even know if you can do sound. I write, I post, I publish, and that’s it.
Here’s the problem. Sometimes, I get comments on my postings. That I get. What surprised me, however, was that those comments also showed up on my e-mail. How does that happen? The same message in two places? How does it get there? The first time I noticed this, I stared at the duplicate e-mails in caveman bewilderment, like a monkey staring at his reflection in a puddle – “Oooh, this is me, and that’s me.” Later, it was explained to me that when I get a comment on my blog, the “Comments” area automatically triggers an e-mail. Somehow.
Okay. I don’t need the same thing in two places, but I’m not paying for it, so fine.
The problem occurred when I tried answering those comments-slash-e-mails and I couldn’t. They wouldn’t go through. I got mailer-daemon, the international signal for e-mail disappointment. “Huh”, I thought, stymied in my efforts. “E-mail no good.”
“What’s going on?” I wondered. I know how to answer e-mails. How come I can’t answer these?
Once again, it needed to be explained to me. What I learned was, “These e-mails aren’t really e-mails, Earl, they’re transferred comments, which are different. Therefore, Earl, even though you’ve mastered the ability to answer e-mails, since these are not actual e-mails, you are not able to answer them, okayyyy?”
That was my inner voice talking. It thinks I’m an imbecile.
Okay. I can’t answer the e-mails because they’re not really e-mails, they’re transferred comments. I got it. But how do I tell them apart? How do I distinguish between the e-mails that are e-mails that you can answer and the e-mails that aren’t e-mails that I can’t?
Here’s where the embarrassing part comes. Try not to get ahead of me. I feel stupid enough as it is, and if you get ahead of me, I’ll feel even stupider.
At the place where the e-mails come, that rectangle that pops onto your screen when you click on “Read”, I noticed a designation on those e-mails that were actually transferred comments that said “Noreplay.”
Hm. Must be some kind of computer program, I thought, a program that sends the e-mails that aren’t really e-mails from my “Comments” place to my e-mail place. Okay, got it. I just have to remember that when I receive an e-mail that says “Noreplay”, I won’t be able to respond to it, because it’s not really an e-mail. Great. Lesson learned.
“Noreplay” is not e-mail; you can’t answer it back.
But it still bothered me. Blog visitors were asking me questions, or making comments I wanted to respond to, and I couldn’t do it. Maybe the commenters thought I was being rude when I didn’t respond, when I wasn’t, I was simply in “Noreplay” mode. Not that I want to respond to every comment – I do have some kind of a life, though, when the Writers’ Strike picketing stops, a huge chunk of it will be over. It’s just that sometimes, I wanted to write back, and I had no way to do it. Yes, some comments include this blue writing you can click on. But when I do that, I’m invariably transported to some website with graphics, music, dancing, a light lunch, everything but an easily locatable instruction for writing people back. Meeting with frustration, I do what I usually do. I give up.
Stymied again. I wanted to respond and I couldn’t.
I started to hate “Noreplay.” And, being a grownup – at least the grownup that is me – my characteristic response is to whine and complain. Incessantly. When I was four, Mr. Rosen, who drove my classmates and me home from Nursery School announced to my mother, “You’re son is a chronic complainer.” Never mind that, as is usually the case, my whiney observations were correct, a complainer is a complainer, and I’ve been one since I was four.
Characteristically, I complain to my sensible stepdaughter Rachel about “Norplay” and how it’s thwarting my desires. I go into detail about how sometimes, some blog viewer makes a comment that I want to respond to but “Noreplay” won’t let me, because…Rachel stops me right there. With these words:
“It’s not “Noreplay”, Earl. It’s ‘No Reply.’”
Okay, how far ahead of me were you on that? Like a lot? Maybe from the beginning? Exactly how embarrassed should I be on a scale of the bottom being “Not at all”, the highest being “pajama pants on the floor”?
It wasn’t “Noreplay.” It was “No Reply.”
Of course, that doesn’t solve the problem. I still don’t have a way to replay, I mean, reply. Tell me what to do, will ya?
You gotta be smarter than me.