My job is pretty easy to do. I like to imagine one of those plastic birds with a weight at the end—you know, they bend over for eternity, hitting a single key, or hilariously appear to be taking a tiny peck of water—as something qualified to work my position. “Information Specialist” is my proper title, and while I’ve spent at least/only three nights to date crying, with half a sixer of Smirnoff wine coolers by my side, clutching my copy of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style and wondering if I’d ever have a creative thought again, I still take my job somewhat seriously.
I don’t drink too frequently on the job. I only steal things I desperately need, like a can opener (just for one night), or a ream of someone else’s business cards. I don’t chit-chat like my coworkers do (perhaps because we have nothing in common), talking for centuries on end about how, “Oh my god, did you see Jerome last night, on Housewives? Shooooooot, I said to my husband, ‘He must be out his damn mind!’” I rarely use the office postage meter for personal use, etc., etc.
So it’s been established that I’m a bastion of professionalism. However, in being in the “real world” now for just under a year, I’ve noticed a very real and very disturbing phenomenon…
At a rate that is far too shocking to actually calculate, I am opening more and more emails, business emails. PROFESSIONAL emails, where the writer has made the bold choice of selecting Comic Sans MS as their font. Perhaps you’ve seen an email like this before. Perhaps you, yes you, fair reader, have sent one of these emails. If that’s the case, please, I invite you to open your CD-rom tray and mash your dick into it, or if you’re a ladytype, think of a creative and fun way to destroy your ability to propagate your seed.
I’m not sure what the rationale is, frankly. I don’t even understand what would drive anyone to burn the 12 calories it takes to find and select a font other than whatever the fuck your email client gives you. Second, why would you choose Comic Sans MS? Prior to this unfortunate treasure trove of turd pudding in my inbox, the last time I had seen Comic Sans MS was on AOL Instant Messenger in 5th grade, when literally every single other kid was using some color/style/size derivative: Jeff Dilorenzo had a simple pale blue, bold look, whereas Casey Cronan was a more stringy red, no emphasis. Larry Foote had a strange, size 12 or 13 green color that made everyone uneasy, and I rotated between a series of just too light colors that made everyone inch a little closer to their computers.
We all know how, like the End User License Agreement on iTunes or the menu at Chipotle now that they have to list calories, signatures across all professional fields are getting longer. I don’t really understand the technology behind this, or if it was some Microsoft vs. Apple-esque battle–a space race but with more and more characters and tacky ASCII art—but in any case, sigs are huge. Way huge. They take up entire chunks of my screen, forcing me to scroll through email threads for days, skimming over logos and titles and maiden names and Banksy artwork and all the other useless shit that a complete Atomic family style signature entails. Some of the people I deal with have the gall to include a little blurb at the very end, in italicized green, Please consider the environment before you print this email with an image of a little stupid ASCII tree. Like they’ve ever sent an email worth printing before.
Pretty soon, I suppose they’ll be selling ad space for certain people’s signatures. Bill Gates, or the man in black turtlenecks from Apple. The point is, who gives a fuck. I sign off on work emails the same way, every single time, like it’s rolling off the fucking conveyor belt at a factory:
And then follows my glorious signature. It only contains the essentials:
- My title, Information Specialist, in case you were wondering why I’m so fucking smart
- Our company name, if you forgot who you were doing business with
- Our address, in the event you want to come visit or hopefully burn the whole office complex to the ground (no four-digit extension on the zip either, does it look like we’re standing in a post office?)
- A link to our awful, awful, outdated website, so you can go there instead of bothering me anymore
- A link to our Twitter page that I never update, because none of our customers are under 40
- Our phone number, so you have another avenue, my dear customer, to aggravate the piss out of me
- Our fax number, because it’s 1995 still
Signatures can be ignored. Glossed over. Forgotten about. There is NOTHING forgettable about a Comic Sans MS work email, or forgivable. The coup de grace however, is when some kind, probably loving soul, makes the executive decision to utilize a font which makes their name in the signature appear in the faux-handwritten style. I’m not going to make a big stink about it, or make all kinds of wacky proclamations about how blatantly tacky and borderline offensive it is to the human race, to conclude a message like that. The thought process to me is somewhere just north of “totally fucking batshit.”
It doesn’t even make sense. I feel like I’m trapped in an unused chapter of Then We Came to the End. “Was she trying to do that, we thought, staring in horror at the signature. Or maybe it’s just some sort of mistake? Maybe she chose one font, and the computer just selected another. The untrained hand operating one of these machines can fuck almost anything up, we reasoned to ourselves…”
Emails entirely in blue I can abide. Emails with every other character illegible because of some translation error I can abide. Emails in broken English from my boy, Simon Tan of Taiwan asking for the ten thousandth fucking millionth time where his 510(k) document is I can abide. But there’s just something about the soft, farcically rounded letters of Comic Sans MS that make me want to commit mild arson.
Next time you’re sending an email, and you’re worried you may be engaging in some of the douchebaggery you just read about, stop before you send and perform this simple check:
- Step 1) Am I using the font known as Comic Sans MS, or Curlz MT or something similar to achieve a faux-handwritten signature style? If yes, go to step 2. If no, skip ahead to step 3.
- Step 2) Die. Right now, any way will do.
- Step 3) Congratulations! You aren’t a fucking total muppet. You can make it in the real world.