Requires a computer…or auto-correct. On a rainy afternoon a few days ago, I decided to clear some old files from my computer. Here’s what I found –

Dead Man Walking – A friend dropped me an email showing an envelope the USPS returned. It had a neatly hand-printed and correct address with last digit of zip code wrong. A real person would probably have caught it. The USPS computer announced I was deceased and returned the envelope to its sender. Is having too-good handwriting a problem?

Dead Man Swimming – In this case, the zip code was right, so was everything else, except that it said Highlands Beach instead of Highlands Ranch. I was under the impression that zip codes were supposed to prevent mail being returned for simple errors like this.

Meanwhile, in Ireland. I received a letter. Both my name and the street name were misspelled. The postal code was missing, as well. But it showed up at my door. Thank you to a human being.

Did he really say that?

In today’s Help-line society, we’ve become too used to the confusion and misunderstanding that arise from different dialects of English. [I’m told that the French have the same problem on their help-lines, since they’re talking with Algerians.] I appreciate Dell’s efforts to minimize the issue – and reduce the amount of frustrated screaming at their service reps – by switching their help line to an email based system. Over the course of two days a few months back I exchanged 100+ emails with a Dell rep, complete with the need for English-to-English translations. Here’s my favorite exchange, which occurred as things were wrapping up and I was starting to reload my own software and finding instructions still lost in translation.

Me: “To be honest, I’m brain dead and really don’t want to learn programming”

Dell: “I know that this is really frustrating on your part but remember that you are not the only one feeling this.”