The Writer's Voice

The World's Favourite Literary Website

You've Got Mail, Baby! 


Sarah Gibson


This headline on the front page of the newspaper is what my tired eyes opened up to Sunday May 5th. Recently, in the city of Bloomington Indiana, the Indiana University Class of 2000 graduated. Grammy Award-winning John Mellencamp gave the commencement speech at the ceremony the Saturday before this creative headline. Since I had nothing better to do I read the article and learned as follows:

John Mellencamp was born in Seymour.

He has "accumulated" 37 gold platinum and multiplatinum and 12 Grammy Award nominations.

A rather informative article if you ask me. On the back page the paper had written out Mellencamp's speech. Un-amused by my parents' desire for me to help mow the yard, I folded the paper in half and started reading. It started out okay, but by the second or third paragraph I was noticing a little repetition. He was using the phrase, "you guys" more than need be and it started to bother me, just like when someone stutters and says "uh..." thirteen times in one sentence.

Being the cynical teenager that I am, I started counting the times he used his favorite slang term. In a thirty-two-paragraph speech (at least ten of those paragraphs contained only one sentence) he said, "you guys" eleven times and referred to his audience as "guys" about eight times.

I also noticed that he appeared to be quite the braggart, and from what people tell me this isn't far from the truth. His longest paragraphs were about how he's "been all over the world a couple or three times." He also seemed very proud of the fact that he's been married three times.

As I sipped my coffee, I wondered if it was possible for this rock star to come up with five different alternatives for his colorful terminology. Now, I don't claim to be a great at grammar, but I know that repetition is bad; is bad; is bad; is bad; is bad...

I set the paper aside and truly hoped that he was just winging the entire thing and had not taken actual time to prepare it. With my parents not trying to convince me that I had not done enough housework for the weekend anymore, I decided to check my e-mail.

As I signed on to AOL, I heard those three words, "You've got mail." Instead of clicking on the selected icon, I starred at it. I heard the voice saying it over and over again in my head. I then wrote it down on a piece of paper... "You've got mail." I decided that I would stretch it out and then wrote, "You have got mail." Which is what the phrase is in its un-condensed form. Saying my new phrase out loud, frustrated me because it sounded funny.. I came to the quick conclusion that it would be better if the man on the computer said, "You have mail." This makes so much more sense to me than one that sounds like something a hick who's never even seen a computer would say..

Over the next couple of days, I became so annoyed with the midget man saying, "You've got mail," that I changed the sound. I now safely sigh as I log on knowing that if I have a new e-mail I will hear the reassuring words of Homer Simpson telling me in a mocking tone, "Hey, if you don't like it go to Russia!"

Critique this work

Click on the book to leave a comment about this work

All Authors (hi-speed)    All Authors (dialup)    Children    Columnists    Contact    Drama    Fiction    Grammar    Guest Book    Home    Humour    Links    Narratives    Novels    Poems    Published Authors    Reviews    September 11    Short Stories    Teen Writings    Submission Guidelines

Be sure to have a look at our Discussion Forum today to see what's
happening on The World's Favourite Literary Website.