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I’ve got reasons to email me all over this website, and conveniently, when you click on my email address from all of those pages it will generate a subject line about the particulars of that reason to write to me. However, many of you may just wish to correspond with me for other reasons and if that is indeed the case, then I will post my email address again here - Jay@thezenofsouthpark.com - but this time without any subject line so that you may feel comfortable writing about whatever you please. I know that before it must have been extremely disconcerting to erase the subject line that I had so diligently thought up, and the notion of offending me - as I would not dare offend you - was simply not worth the risk of trying to explain the gist of your email in the subject line. Fortunately, you’ve stumbled across this page and here you will be able to write in whatever subject line you please. For the record, I will continue talking senselessly about the subject line throughout the rest of this page so I highly recommend you stop reading now if this topic (i.e. email subject lines) does not interest you.


For you see (are you still reading?), the subject line is a fascinating element of email. So many things are expressed or implied in a subject line and it conveys so much about you and the nature of your correspondence. I think about the subject line often. What if, for instance, each of the words in your subject line is capitalized. It expresses, I dare say, a certain level of formality and respect for titles, as if the email itself were some kind of book deserving of its own title. If you were looking for a long lost friend, you might try the subject line, “In Search of Merv Goldman.” Thus, Merv might be inclined to take you more seriously because clearly you were showing respect for the nature of the query - the epistle you were, so to speak, penning. On the other hand, if you and Merv were long time friends who were maintaining a regular correspondence, you would instead write something like, “sup merv” - not even bothering to capitalize his name. How very rude - but as you are good friends, Merv might not even notice. But what if Merv were your boss? Would you capitalize the words of the subject line? “Will Be Late For Work,” you could write, though “Will be late for work” would probably be just fine. Is “will be late for work” acceptable?Needless to say, capitalization can be a pretty serious issue when it comes to subject lines - and don’t even get me started on punctuation.


What about the subject line that is the entire content of the email? Something like, “Reminder: Meeting is still on for 6 p.m.” Is that annoying? I bet you opened the email to see if it contained any additional important information like where this meeting might be, who might be there, or if you should be prepared with any additional important information. So after you opened it and found nothing there, were you annoyed with Cindy, the secretary that sent the message? Did you think, I’d like to straight-up murder that fat bitch and shove those goddamn bran muffins she’s always eating down her fucking throat until you can’t hear her scream? Do you think you need anger management classes? But seriously, why did she do that? It was totally unnecessary to include the whole message in the subject line and she could have at least said [end message] at the end of the subject line to let you know that you didn’t need to open up the email.


And then of course there’s the opposite: the no subject line. Ominous, isn’t it? If the letter were from an ex, then certainly you would wonder what the hell could be going on that there was no subject line. Is it an insanely serious matter or a totally benign one? Perhaps there’s so much information contained therein that the sender could have no idea what to title the email. But a simple “Hello or Greetings” would do. Perhaps, “Fuckbusket,” could really make all the difference in letting you know what to expect. What if a distant relative had sent an email with no subject line? Do you think somebody died? Did you get your share in the will? Is no subject line a sign of laziness or an indication of complexity? Also, it’s pretty annoying when you respond to an email with no subject line and it says “re:              ” - I know, it totally pisses me off. That literally says, “I’m responding to nothing,” which only begins to indicate that the subject line is more important than we may have initially suspected.


So, in short, the subject line of an email is very important and the exact wording, presence, capitalization, punctuation and more can have serious implications about reader-perceptions, happiness and reaction. Thus, I have provided you with the ability to generate an email to Jay@thezenofsouthpark.com and include a subject line of your precise choosing without having to alter something that you may think that I gave the tiniest bit of consideration to when I added one in other places on this website. So, choose carefully - lord knows how I might react.

Copyright © 2009 The Zen of South Park 2009. All rights reserved.

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