Friday Firesmith – You Have Email!

The fact that I write online gives the illusion of knowledge of the inner workings of websites. Nothing could be further from the truth. I get by with the bare minimum of navigation, much like a drunk that can make it to the bar and back. I get what I want or need, and I get out. There’s no level of sorcery that I have mastered to do any of this. What has to be done for the words to appear on the screen is all I really know.

That extends into a lot of the areas that are covered by the internet, including email. Yes, email, there are four-year-olds out there with email accounts, and none of those toddlers have destroyed the world yet. I might have come close Saturday morning. Gmail and I had a conversation.

Gmail told me I was using 20% of my 15 Gigabytes of email storage. I do not know much, but I do know that 20% of 15 is 3, and three Gigabytes of emails is a lot of emails. It is an overwhelming amount of emails. It is more emails than Hillary lost.

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Dutifully, I went through my inbox and deleted a hundred old emails. It changed nothing. Then where were these emails that were running up the score? I looked in my Sent folder, and yeah, I needed to nuke those, and then I looked in the Spam, and damn, look at all that, but none of these really had that much in them.

Then I discovered “Categories”

Apparently, everything that arrived in my inbox was also stored in different folders in “Categories”. I had not checked these folders since 2007. For thirteen years, email has been building up in these folders, like dust on top of an old abandoned bookshelf.

I deleted tens of thousands of emails. It took an hour.

Wait, there’s more!

Okay, there is also a folder called “All Mail”.

Even after I cleaned out every nook and cranny of every folder, there were still emails from the distant past that showed up in “All Mail”. I had to delete this at five or six at a time, because there were “Important Emails” and emails in the “Hold” folder that showed up there as well, and I need those. By the way, the emails I absolutely have to keep number less than a dozen.

But the whole experience was like deleting a timeline of my life. Email from women I’ve dated, emails from people I’ve known, emails with subject lines of divorce and death passed before my eyes, and were gone, once again. But there were literally thousands and thousands of emails whose voices did not speak to me.

Again and again and yet again, I hit the delete button, and they were, finally, all gone. My inbox is empty. The send folder is empty. Spam and trash are empty. Categories have been disabled. My past is buried, yet again.

I found an email from someone sending me money to help save Lucas. If you were one of those people I haven’t forgotten you, and what you did for us. Thank you. Again. And forever. Some things, some very rare things, things that are really important, we don’t need reminders to remember.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

13 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – You Have Email!”

  1. Yes, prompts like old emails can bring memories to the surface whether good or bad.
    Every damn time I delete a bunch of old emails I worry that I’m throwing away something important.
    But common sense says the only reason I’d need an old email is to settle an argument, and of course I’m always right and they’re always wrong, so I don’t need proof. Bwahahahahahaha!!

  2. I’m scared to death to go to my Gmail account, I haven’ been there in I have no idea how long. I have another account that I go to periodically, I rarely use it either. I have a work account and a yahoo account. My yahoo account gets overwhelmed, I rarely check it, once a week, maybe. I just can’t be bothered. Sadly, I have to check my work email. If I didn’t there would likely be a thousand or more in there .
    Frankly, if someone wants to get in touch with me there are better ways.

  3. Hey Mike, I think I may have figured out how this happened.
    I recently got a new phone and when I set it up I assumed that some of my original settings were still in place and I didn’t pay close enough attention until after I read your column this morning.
    On my phone, when I am reading my email I just swipe left and delete them but I looked closer today and realized the setting for swiping left was not “delete” but “archive” so when I checked my categories file like you mentioned I found a whole bunch of emails still in that file unintentionally.
    Since I figured this out and changed the setting on my phone I hope I have eliminated this from happening in the future.
    Hopefully this may help some of your readers solve this as well.
    Regards, Dan

    • Dan, you know, I never even thought about it might have something to do with my phone.

      I was doing all this from the laptop, and now I wonder if my phone and my laptop are in cahoots.

      That would make sense, actually. Thanks!

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