Friends in spam
What to pair with a strange e-mail
By Tim Protzman firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever wonder who is on the address section of your e-mail?
I never did until the other day when Debbie — glass of Bollini pinot grigio, $11.99, tart, acidic rounded citrus notes — sent me an e-mail called “Your Dessert Type.” It was a list of eight desserts and what it means psychologically if you choose, let’s say, brownies as your favorite. Kind of like a caloric zodiac.
Debbie wrote her favorite was Death by Chocolate, a dense rich chocolate gateaux with molten fudge sauce on top. What the dessert says about her is that she’s sexy, generous, with a bit of a cold exterior but very, very warm inside.
Now I just usually delete these things but this one was cute enough to forward. I sent it to Anne. We’ve been talking and corresponding lately because there’ve been some Hollywood deaths. It’s become a tradition to call or e-mail each other when a celebrity passes. She must have read it, e-mailed me her psychological dessert type “Carrot Cake” — quirky, fun-loving, extremely loyal with a punitive streak — and forwarded it off again. I only know this because I got the same e-mail back that I sent out. I figured I must be on her gang e-mail list. But when I got it back I noticed that each time someone had forwarded it, it left an electronic calling card: the addresses of everyone on the forward list. There were almost a hundred people in four rounds of forwarding. People with names like Terri Heart (not her real name but a nom de screen). People who work for Americarealliance, Gregor at Braeval — who makes ultra premium hunting shirts and wants me to design the label for his new single malt scotch — and somebody called snikpooh, which reminded me of OGPU, an early version of the Soviet secret police which became the KGB. A parade of e-mail addresses from people I’ll never met, places I’ll never see, just because I was curious about which psychological dessert type they fit in with.
First I was a little overwhelmed. Would one of these strangers do something that warranted a visit from a governmental investigational agency? Would they ask, “Do you remember receiving an e-mail with a picture of a kitten clinging to a branch with its front paws and the caption — ‘Hang in there. Friday’s coming!!’? And if so what is your relationship with Onionnut@wembley.com?”
The pressure was almost unbearable. That night I went home and ate my psychological dessert. Strawberry shortcake. Romantic, warm, loving. You care about other people, can be counted on in a pinch and expect the same in return. Intuitively keen. Can be very emotional.
I served the psycho dessert with a prosecco because I’ve been on a sparkling wine kick since the Barolo wagon ran out of steam. It paired well with the Florida strawberries even though they weren’t juicy and sweet like the native kind you get in June. The Mionetto Prosecco di Valdobbiadene $14.99 was the hit of the course. It brought out the fruit in the strawberries and was just yummy with the homemade whipped cream. It had sparkling white grapes fruit notes, a touch of ginger and a sweet crisp finish. The perfect everyday fizzy. The Valdobbiadene refers to a little village in the foothills north of Venice in the Treviso region where the cool nights and warm days gently ripen the pale, translucent fruit.
What if it were possible to send yourself round the world like an e-mail? It seems sort of straightforward. They do it on Star Trek all the time. Convert matter to energy. Send the energy to point B at the speed of light. Convert the energy back to its original solid matter state. And enjoy the vacation. Theoretically this is all possible, and they’re even doing it now with fiber optics and small subatomic particles like quarks. (If I were a subatomic particle I’d be a quark or a muon.)
Then I asked myself, which wine region would I visit if I could go right now?
My first thought would be Napa. It would be quiet this time of year, except on weekends when the vineyard tasting caravans roll. Burgundy would be very nice in February. Lots of time to talk to the cellar masters. Tuscany? Too despoiled by tourists, but Piedmonte would be quieter and colder. If I went to Germany I could stay ’til Ash Wednesday and get to celebrate Mardi Gras, which is called Fasching. But I’d think I’d opt for either South Africa (where it’s summer) or Australia (where it’s summer). In the end I choose Australia, Western Australia near Perth. Because of the remote beauty, the climate, the rustic sophistication of the wine they make and because Anne a.k.a. Carrot Cake called to talk about Heath Ledger. Another sad line in our Hollywood Passing dialogue. He was from Perth.