About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

Hey, this is important!

The first time I read an email that addressed me with the word "Hey," I was taken aback. To me, the word "hey" indicates belligerence, rudeness. "Hey, listen to me." "Hey, you better get out of my way."

Since then, I've been working with volunteers who are young enough to be my daughters and sons. (OK, I'd make a very young parent.) I've learned a lot, not just about technology, but also about communication.

A group email beginning with "Hey" indicates inclusion, casualness, energy. I've even gotten used to using it with the group. That's not easy for me to do. Like when a friend asks you to call them by a nickname you're just not comfortable with.

When the context is wrong, "Hey" doesn't work. It's probably not recommended for a job application cover letter. Or to communicate with people who don't know you. Recently I was checking my email and an on-screen message from Google flashed, "Hey, this is important." I immediately closed out the window and had the shakes for several minutes. I was sure someone was alerting me to a virus within my computer. Turns out Google just wanted an alternative email address for me. They still haven't gotten it.

"Hey" has allowed me to become generationally bilingual. I use "hey" for some and more formal greetings for others. An email from my friend Greg, an English major, is a work of artful precision, akin to a letter in a Ken Burns documentary.

He would take great umbrage if I addressed him with "Hey."

So if I've helped one person understand this next-generation salutation, hey, I've done my job.

Flickr photo credit: Booth365

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