What’s Age Got to do With it? or How to lose a Dear Friend in One Email

Many moons ago “A” and I became friends in school. Other students in school simply ignored her existence. That was eons ago and “A” was the only Hispanic student in a school of about 80 students. About midway through high school “A’s” father became a ranch foreman for a wealthy doctor and she moved away. Later we connected again as we both entered a Catholic school of nursing. “A” was mild mannered, friendly and, smiled a lot. All the patients loved her and so did all our classmates.

We both moved on to individual paths with “A” living in California. She had met her future husband while in nursing school via a blind date while he was an airman stationed near our town.

In the ensuing years we kept in touch by letters. I saw her maybe 5 times when she still had parents living in central Texas.

Several years ago, she wrote me a letter to tell me what my friendship had meant to her. She wrote that I had been so nice to her in highschool, that it had meant so much and, that she had not forgotten. Getting that note meant a lot to me. For I never felt that I had done anything special. She was a very nice and kind person and that is why I liked her as a friend.

With the advent of the computer once in a while we exchanged an actual letter but otherwise “A” sent me cute photos of pets, animals, etc. her children, grandchildren, etc. She retired quite a few years before I finally threw in my towel.

From about 2000 -2011 she began sending emails that contained cartoons related to old people. Plus all the other crazies of poems and or thoughts related to old people. As we aged she seemed to dwell on the “funnies of the old.”

I began to wonder what appeared to be an attachment to the cartoons and writings related to the elderly. In my apparent distorted opinion all of these are supposedly amusing- as one gathers momentum toward one’s demise. In my biased opinion, I did not and do not need a reminder of aging. I also feel the cartoons were/are a mockery of the elderly and the infirm.

Initially the funnies were sort of funny but as the years began piling up and I was still working, I no longer found making fun of the elderly funny. Yes I just used “funny/fun” too many times. But on with the story.

There was one cartoon about an old woman named Maxine. And then there were others that read about being wealthy since we had silver in the hair, gold in the teeth and, titanium in our joints. Well I had gold in my teeth that was put there in my 20’s and some of those fillings are still good. (that might be another story).

So as the funny stuff continued to make the rounds of the Internet elderly crowd, “A” remained on a steady and unyielding course of sending any and all funnies that happened to land in her inbox.

So about four years ago I sent four subtle email requests to friends to please stop sending me cartoons devoted to the elderly. Three people understood my request. However, “A” continued on her hell bent path of sending what had obviously become her obsession with growing old.

Maybe this was her way of accepting old age. I did not and still do not find it amusing to make fun of the elderly, crippled, mentally challenged, etc. In my opinion it is abusive. But what do I know? Maybe I am biased and touchy about the subject.

In 2011 I had given a name to the elderly funnies that “A’ continued to send to me. I called them “The Age of The Aged.” A few actual email letters were exchanged. Her notes were spliced in among all of the forwarded “elderly funnies.” The forwarded funnies contained at least 20-25 names. Gee, I thought, she sure knows lots of people that are either old or really enjoy laughing about what happens to the elderly.

But- one day the funnies were arriving faster than I could limp to the kitchen on a knee that I had injured the previous year. I made my coffee and sat at the kitchen table to read my email. First rattle out of the box was another elderly funny. Only this one was a zinger. An old man in a wheelchair being pushed by a kid shorter than the back of the wheelchair. There was an accompanying “funny” caption about role reversal and how the shoe was now on the other foot or some sort of nonsense.

That put a damper on my day. Not only was I recovering from a knee injury but also an injury to the outer aspect of my left foot which I had badly bruised after jumping off the back steps to save time. Note. I still hop or skip steps to save “time.” Anyhow, that little ditty did it for me! Good and proper. Actually I think that was the day I had to increase my blood pressure medication.

That night I read again some of the things that “A” had sent me. As I read and re-read, I thought that I might have a coronary so what better way to appease one’s anger than to shoot off an email since I could not spout off at the mouth.

I carefully composed what I believed to be an innocuous email but this time it was not subtle. My note was to the point but I thought is was not a flagrant request to stop the craziness of the crazy funnies. I don’t remember my exact words but I had written carefully chosen words that I was sure would not go un-noticed.

By 2300 or 11:00pm if you prefer, there was an email from “A.” I don’t remember all of the words but one sentence was succinct. “You will not be hearing from me again from now on.” She then elaborated a fraction, more or less, depending on one’s perspective. To quote. “I celebrate my age. I am in control of life and “feel that I like my age” or maybe it was the other way around and she wrote “I feel my age.”

Oops! What have I done now? I made profuse apologies. I wrote that I was sorry for my gross lack of tactfulness. But as my words were virtually spit onto the screen I then went into overdrive. “It must be a shock to discover that your friend of 45 years or so is in reality a beach”- but I wrote the other “b” word and then ended the note. She did not reply and I sent no further emails her way. I thought of the outcome for several days. Initially I was dumbfounded, then angry, then philosophical.

I might write a part II to this re: my outlook on life and how life can be so deceiving. Will see how this one goes over. This post is longer than I had intended. I am remorseful. Actually!


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35 thoughts on “What’s Age Got to do With it? or How to lose a Dear Friend in One Email

  1. All sorts of things to ponder in this story. First, humor is so subjective! One person’s light comedy is another’s hot button. It’s always sad to me when a friendship fizzles or abruptly explodes. Friendship is a fragile, precious gift. But values and priorities can change a great deal over time and if we can’t accommodate those changes in a peaceful, loving way, then ending the relationship can be the most peaceful solution.

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting. I can’t argue with your assessment regarding friendship. Things do change and since it was a long distance one at that it was virtually non -repairable.

  2. chatou11 says:

    Hello Yvonne, I found this story very sad for your friend and for you after such a long friendship. It seems like a lack of understanding./ So sad for you are you are such a kind person. It happened to me once and I had to stop it.. so I understand.
    But don’t feel guilty and go on with friends you still have and you have plenty here.
    Sorry, I did not see all your posts, I juste came back from one week in Hospital and I am quite tired.
    Friendly yours

    • Chatou, that you for commenting and your concern. I have a very close friend in my town and she is a very long time friend. We have much in common. Even though my ex-freind was dear to me, both our lives had changed a lot.

      Now what is this thing that you have been sick? Please take care and get adequate rest. I hope you are soon completely recovered. I am so sorry that you have been ill.

      But you have not missed amything since I had not been posting due to computer problems. I now have my old one which was fixed for a bit over $50. Thank God for that. Computer man is a genius. I will write about it sometime, maybe.

      Take care.
      Fond regards, Yvonne

  3. I used to have someone send me political emails, among other things that were so against my own belief system, not that she would have known. I was on her email list, so I got them along with all her other contacts. I merely block. I can understand when it’s someone that you are really good friends with – that you might say something.

    • Thank for commenting, Jeri. It seems that a good many people have also received things in email that were disturbing to them as well. I also received political things. I just did not reply to the person that sent the junk.

  4. Val says:

    I sympathise with this, Yvonne. It’s happened to me in various forms many times. People (sometimes family, not just friends) who send thoughtless email content, who forward rubbish (well, I regard it as rubbish), who don’t take the trouble to find out what one’s into and what one finds offensive. I wouldn’t have opened them beyond the first few (if that), I just don’t have the tolerance or patience for it. Also when people send things CC (carbon copy) as opposed to BCC (blind carbon copy) in email, it drives me bananas. With CC everyone can see all the names and email addresses of every recipient. With BCC they can’t. I’m afraid I have ended friendships and contact for this same reason (though not specifically about ‘Old’ jokes. I don’t mind a few, it entirely depends who is sending them and how we relate to each other).

    By the way, I noticed in your replies to other comments here that you’re losing what you type. Try this trick I use: when you’ve finished typing and before you click the ‘post comment’ button, put your cursor in the text, hold down the control key on your keyboard and at the same time hold down the ‘C’ key on your keyboard. That copies it to your computer’s memory. Then post the comment. If you lose the comment put your cursor in a new reply box, and hold down Control and the ‘V’ key. That will paste your previous comment back in.

    • Val says:

      Sorry, when I said ‘put cursor in the text’, I meant to say ‘put cursor in the text and left click’

    • Val, it seems just about all people have a problem with emails that are not welcome. I never send stuff to anyone unless I know exactly what they care about. I only exchange political things with one friend. I never send jokes. I exchange pet and nature things with my very close friend. Actually I email only a few individuals. Just do not have time for all of that junk.

      All of the instructions that you sent to me I am going to put in, I suppose a “saved draft”. I dont’t have a printer anymore but need to get one and hire this young kid to set it up so that it is connected to my wireless laptop.

  5. shoreacres says:

    This is such an interesting discussion. There’s a wonderful plaque I’ve seen that says “Google before you Tweet” is the new “Think Before You Speak”. There’s a lot to learn about online communication, but one thing hasn’t changed: we need to read as carefully as we listen face-to-face.

    I’ve got a couple of friends who constantly are forwarding things to me. One sends me every political petition under the sun, the other sends Maxine-type stuff. In both cases, I just delete the emails and never reply – I figure I can delete a lot of emails in the time it would take me to send one that explained why I don’t care for them.

    As I think about it, my gripe isn’t usually with the subject matter, but with the forwarding itself. I don’t need an inbox cluttered up with jokes, pictures of cute cats and who knows what all – particularly when they come with the names of about a zillion other people attached. If I forward something interesting, I send it directly to the person I think will be interested, with at least a few personal words. I never, ever just hit “forward” without getting rid of all the other email addresses, and I don’t want my address sent around in that way, either.

    I did have an aunt who was big on joke-forwarding. I just told her, as sweetly as I could, that she might as well take me off her list, because I wouldn’t open them anyway! She did, and my email traffic dropped considerably!

    • Thanks for commenting Linda. I’m in total agreement about too much junk being forwarded, etc. I probably should just have deleted the stuff that she sent but I can’t change it and I am through grieving about the fact. As I wrote in one of my replies, we have each moved on in different directions and I have grown in many areas and in other aspects of my beebee brain, I am lacking. I am afraid that I commented inappropiately in the blog of a lady whose writing ability I greatly admire. I am afraid to even look for fear that maybe she has blocked me. Her reply to me was not angry and it was nice. But then I began thinking that I commented in a way which I had meant to be funny but it was too sarcastic sounding and she did not “get my humor at all.” She is from another country. So I then wrote again that I was joking and I wrote that is was supposed to be sarcastic humor. I have lost sleep over it but I’ve not had a computer of my own for several weeks. I have tried to figure out how I was so stupid and I am sure it set her back after reading my comment. But I have no idea how to correct it. She was one of my top comemnters and was very good about commenting on various things. )(that part does not matter) I am sure that I need a hard slap and I swift kick. I have vowed to stop trying to be funny on other people’s blogs. Bad idea for me, really bad. And I am not looking for sympathy. I just wonder if other people have committed a similiar mistake.

      I dont’ have google spell check so I am sure my reply is filled with typos, etc. I’ve got to get google chrome back on my computer.

      • shoreacres says:

        It happens to all of us, and humor is especially difficult to convey on the internet. That’s one reason the little “smilies” are so useful – it’s just people trying to find a way to add the non-verbal cues that aren’t there in the the written word.

        I’ll not tell you to stop losing sleep over it, but – I hope you can stop losing sleep over it. One of the realities of the internet and blogs is that people come and go, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they get bored with blogging, sometimes they get a new job and don’t have time, sometimes they get flat offended by something and decide to go off and pout. None of that’s in your control, so just do what you do best – write your interesting posts, visit around and enjoy the process.

        That’s what I think, anyhow. πŸ˜‰

        • Linda, your reply to my comment is so kind and actaully generous of you to take the extra time to offer your thoughts. I made myself go to her blog and I was able to comment. I said what I needed to say and then asked her to delete my comments of (last week I think it was). She has not been back in her blog and might not see what I had written. Maybe in a day or so she will.

  6. Andrew says:

    I finished the last comment in haste – hence the typos but I meant to add that the jasmine is in fact about 5 plants, spaced out along the wall. We ended up replacing one as it had gone to that great jasmine nursery in the sky but we now have a wonderful new plant that hopefully will fill the gap left by its predecessor. I inspected the soil this afternoon and it still looks too wet. The helper swears she hasn’t over-watered it so maybe we had a lot of rain overnight. I’m hoping it will dry out a bit but certainly for now we are without blooms on any of the plants. But the good thing is that the lantana is doing extremely well and attracting lots of butterflies. Also the bougainvilleas are looking simply spectacular in all sorts of colours from red in several different shades right through to white. Glorious!

    • Thanks for reading Andrew. I didn’t even see any typos. I am in a real stew this morning. Had to take my little blind dog to have his eye removed. It was grossly infected and had gotten that way in 2 days time. He has a heart murmur of (4) on a scale of 1-6. So he is a surgical risk. Story too long here to explain of why/how the eye went for not good to really bad.

      I imagine your garden is still quite beautiful. Bougainvelleas are outstanding. I only buy a basket now and then to admire for the summer. It is tricky in certain areas and must have the right condition for it to bloom. It might be to hot and dry here.

  7. Andrew says:

    I do some coaching for my old employer and there are 2 pieces of advice I give people that resonate here. If its important, don’t e mail. It doesn’t have any body language attached. Use humour sparingly. It can defuse a difficult situation but it can also pour fuel on the fire. I had an aunt who thought the whole ageing process was hilarious and always joked with me about what had gone wrong with her since we last met. I had another aunt who found ageing intensely depressing. Everybody is different. Your friend should have taken the hint and shown more respect but ultimately I think it was right to end what was an upsetting correspondence. The Internet is a strange place. We finds new people we like and engage with and most we never meet. Perhaps if we did we’d find each other very different from our expectations. Personally, Yvonne I think you a coping extraordinarily well. I am mid 50s but still struggle with computers. I was just too late to learn about them in school. I hope your problems get resolved as you know you have a lot of blogging friends here. Hang in there.

    • I really liked your advice about emails. And it is true about body language and also voice inflection. I would like to expound on your comment but I need to hurry and drive over to my friend or the computer guy or the library since I dont’t have a printer anymore. HP emailed a sticker for FedEx to put on the computer box.I must print it out. The woman wanted to sell me a Windows 7 but I need techs that I can understand. I was so stressed from the strain of trying to follow the tech’s directions. So I will be out of commission for a few more weeks again. Don’t want to drive to Austin so I reckon I’ll order online from Costco. You get all American tech support no matter if you buy in store or online.

      It’s odd but Google spell check is not working this morning. Gee I just want to throw my hands in the air and tell the world that I give up. πŸ™‚


  8. Lottie Nevin says:

    I think roughseasinthemed’s comment is spot on and really sums it up.

    I sympathise with you Yvonne, I had something similar happen to me a few years back and in the end I blocked the person as a contact. I hated doing it but enough was enough. There are certain things that I can’t tolerate and I found her ‘jokes’ offensive, cruel and horribly racist.

    It’s sad when long friendships end because of differences of opinion but you did your best to hint that her jokes were not funny to you and she didn’t take the hint. It’s her loss.

    You’ll have plenty of other people that love and care about you and take your feelings into consideration as well as all of us on here!

    • Lottie this computer thing is making me nuttier. I had just typed a long reply to you and it “flew” away and a stupid ad appeared at the top of my screen. Anyhow, the woman that you had to block deserved a real shaking up. That was pure harassment and it was really bad when it became racial. I don’t understand racism in modern society nor the crudeness of some people.

      My ex-friend was/is not a crude person. So it struck me as odd that she continued as if she had never read that I had hinted to her that I did not enjoy making fun of old age. She just seemed to take such high offense when I asked her to stop. That is what really puzzled me. But I stewed over it for a while and as I wrote, I turned it loose and continued with my other friendships.

      I will be sending this computer back so I won’t be able to comment for a while again. I hope to get it over to FedEx on Friday. Hopefully I can squeeze in some comments from the library.

      Fond regards,

      • Lottie Nevin says:

        I SO hope that you get the computer problem fixed soon! I can’t see any ads on here – I get ads popping up on my laptop from time to time – I think it’s just what happens. I understand your frustrations though!

        Good luck with it all and here’s to a new ad-free computer for you soon! πŸ˜€

        • Lottie it isn’t just the ads. The screen jumps all over the place and some replies to comments have simply disappeared after I was just about finished with writing. I think it is Explorer 8 that is the problem. HP techs will not remove it and I have no idea how to do anything that requires over- using my brain. πŸ™‚ When my old computer was still good, a Costco tech thought my computer needed Windows or Explorer 8. So he instructed me how to get that installed. Then my old computer really messed up big time. When I called the next time a tech told me that Windows 8 was a huge hassle and was really for certain jobs for certain people. Whatever that means. So he instructed me how to put Windows 7 on the old computer and that fixed the problem until my computer gave out. I don’t know if you have seen a screen with (8) on it but I can tell you it is a whole new ballgame to learn and I have managed to learn a good bit (my opinion) of how to navigate this thing. It is very strange. Looks like an iphone and is designed to touch the screen but one can use a mouse which I have been doing. Val of Arty Old Bird wrote me that WP is most compatible with Google chrome or FireFox. I like Google a lot but it is causing the ads to jump up everywhere. The tech in India who was very sweet and knew his stuff. He tried to disable the pop up screen but it just was not working. Something was preventing the pop up blocker from doing its job. Google is great for it catches spelling errors better than WP spell check. I over look a lot as I type and generally know that I have misspelled a word. Google works like a charm. When I get a computer that has Windows 7 I can still add Google and also FireFox. It will make my life easier for I really need that if I am to continue to try to blog.

          I appreciate your concern re: the computer. I am under so much stress right now that I feel as if I am going to fall apart. But I have to be strong for Lisa so that hopefully one day the new med (Embrel) will kick in and maybe the arthritis will go into remission. She is stressed beyond words and worries constantly if she will ever be able to work again.

          Take care and don’t worry about me. As my sister has often said, “I am a tough little nut.” But I so appreciate your concern. It means a lot to know that a few bloggers think I am worthy of their time and actually read my posts.

          It is not easy aging and I fight it most days. I try not to think about aging and do my best to stay ahead of it all.

  9. sybil says:

    I have a cousin who sends me the Maxine cartoons and all sorts of aged jokes. I don’t get the appeal of them. It’s almost like she’s revelling in growing old, while I am thinking and acting as young as I can.

    I haven’t told her as I don’t think she’d get why they were bothering me and might react in a similar manner.

    I’m sorry for the loss of your friend.

    • Thanks Sybil, for your comments. I don’t get it either with the aged thing. But I have begun thinking that it must be a psychological mechanism. If one makes fiun, this appeases the psyche and gives one the feeling “that by George, I can accept that I am growing old. See I can make fun of it.” I’ve observed that kind of thought process in morbidly obese people. They make fun of themselves and tell jokes about being obese. It actually makes me sick when someone wants to make fun of anything to do with the human body.

  10. TexWisGirl says:

    emails, in general, can cause problems as you can’t look the person in the eye, you can’t read the inflection in their voice, you can’t pick up their sense of humor – or lack thereof, as the case may be. but it sounds like you tried to stem the tide of emails long before you snapped. i know you regret losing a friend, but it doesn’t sound like she was really communicating much – just forwarding funnies.

    • Thanks Theresa for your input. You hit the nail on the head about talking to someone as opposed to writing to someone.. I was upset at first as you say but then I just said what the heck and moved on with my other friends. My daughter was appalled that I wrote that to her. She thought that I should have ignored the old cartoons and not said anything.

    • This just can not be. I replied to you for what I thought was the final time. It posted and when I came back to read the comments again, yours and two more that I had replied to were gone. You are correct about talking in person as opposed to an email and don’t forget the phone.

  11. This is too bad, Yvonne. Yes, it may have been better to just bite your tongue, but a friend would try to understand rather than tell you to get lost. This is the opposite of what usually happens when two old friends or relatives who have been not speaking for years make up later on. Maybe that will happen down the road.

    • Thank Steve for reading and commenting. I don’t think we’ll be in touch again. She is too far away and our lives are quite different.

      • It sounds like you are glad to be done with the relationship then. If most of it was based on her sending the offending cartoons then there wasn’t much reason to maintain. At least that is how it seems to me. I have heard it said that we can never have enough friends and I believe that is true as long as they are actually friends.

        • Right again Steve. We had been friends for a very long time. I considered her my best friend all those years because for a years we did write even if it was only at Christmas time. I still think highly of her and of her husband as well. I knew him also when the were dating. But lives, interests and, times change things and I don’t feel as if we had much in common anymore. I have had so much to deal with over the past 3 years that I just could not put anymore energy into worrying about a lost and very long friendship. When things begin to get on your nerves” then it is better to back away or to let it go. So I did both.

  12. I think email and any form of instant messaging adds a whole new dynamic to relationships. Somehow what’s written on a screen seems to be so much more in your face than a handwritten letter. Plus, in olden days, no-one would send around ‘jokes’ to all and sundry. I do receive a couple and tend to usually ignore them anyway.

    I wouldn’t find ‘jokes’ at the expense of old people funny. Not because I’m getting there quicker every day but because I think older people don’t receive enough respect and often treated as past their sell-by date.

    I sent an email to a relative once, because something he had written seriously offended me (at a personal level). I could have left it alone, but after reading it, our relationship was going nowhere anyway. So I figured I might as well point out what I thought. Nothing to lose.

    Other email relationships end through lack of personal touch. Others, through perhaps too much. The internet has a lot to answer for in terms of personal relationships.

    If you meant what you wrote to her, and you were offended by the so-called and not remotely funnies, then you probably made the right decision. Life’s too short to worry about it, as people often say to me when I bemoan the loss of internet friendships.

    • This is the third reply to you so this one will be short. This computer is giving me fits. Thank you for understanding the messages within the text. There are several messages in that post and you got all of them. Thank you for commenting.


      • Yvonne, I spent hours trying to write to Andrew about his jasmine, so I totally sympathise if you are having probs replying. I think it was a wordpress issue at the time rather than a computer one. Nothing worse than writing out a reply to see it eaten up.

        It was an interesting and valid post. That’s why I commented.

        • Thank you again. I appreciate that you have taken the time again to respond. I feel quite honored that you think it was a decent post. This new computer ate comments to you and to Theresa of TexWisGirl. I redid replies to each of you three times. I am really ticked.

          Speaking of the jasmine info. That was excellent information that you wrote. Very good indeed. I put my stamp of approval on it. πŸ™‚ I wonder if his plant pulled through. You should remember to ask him.

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