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Touching a nerve

May 4, 2013

By Bill McClellan
Herald Managing Editor
You never know when you are going to touch a nerve. I’ve done it many times, but then, in this business, it’s bound to happen.
A few weeks ago I wrote a column about lessons I had learned in dealing with credit card companies, insurance companies, etc. after the death of my wife. By the way, thank you to those who responded with cards, letters or emails either about my wife or to thank me for the column.
At the end of that column, I wrote about an upcoming rant — yep, this one. I said it would be:
“A rant on my pet peeve — people who type information about their event, fundraiser, engagement, etc. using a computer, then print it off and mail it or carry it to the Herald. Really folks, what’s the point? Just email it! It gets here faster and it doesn’t have to be retyped. And if you don’t know how to use email, learn. It’s simple. Quit making excuses.”
Well, with that, I touched a nerve. One of our regular letter writers took offense.
First of all, let me make it clear that the Herald accepts letters, stories, births, weddings, engagements — you name it — no matter what form they arrive in. Many are hand written. We do not, nor have we ever, or will we ever, turn those away. To assume anything different because of what I wrote above is ... well, I’ll leave that alone.
My pet peeve — and I didn’t go into detail with that “preview” in the last column — deals with the fact that so many people just give up on using email. They try it, don’t understand how it works, and think “Well, I’m too old school” or “I am too dumb to understand.” Hogwash.
Can you operate a television remote? It’s more difficult than learning to send an email.
Can you drive a car? It’s much, much more difficult than learning to send an email.
Can you operate an alarm clock? It’s about the same, difficulty wise, as sending an email.
Can’t type? Whoa! I’m not talking about you. I am only addressing those who type their letters on a computer and then print them out and walk them in instead of emailing them.
If you can type a single sentence on a computer keyboard, you’ve already done more moves with your fingers than it takes to send an email to New York City, Dallas, or the stupid, classless editor at the Herald.
But don’t be concerned about the Herald. Learning to send email can result in something as simple as typing a short “Happy Birthday” to a friend, exchanging recipes or as complex as paying your bills online. Emailing saves you time and opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Just think, one day you might go so far as to put down the computer, pick up the phone and text your grandkids — which is about the only way you can get through to them these days.
Our letter writer wrote, ”Since I prefer to hand carry my typed letters to the Herald, I shall cease to write.”
Dear letter writer, we have always published your letters, and if you decide to change your mind, we will continue to do so. I sincerely hope that you do continue writing and I apologize for offending you.
As for the rest of you, It takes about 5 minutes to sent up an email account if you don’t already have one. It’s free. If you’ve tried before and threw your hands up in frustration, call me. If I cannot help, I’ll find someone who can.
But please, don’t stop sending your letters and other information to the Herald, no matter what form it is in. That was never my intent.

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