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The High Society:  40 e-words

Paul M. Muchinsky*
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

*Unamused, indifferent, or entertained readers can contact the author at pmmuchin@uncg.edu.

I hate them. I have tried my very best to avoid them at all costs and for any reason. It is no use. I give up. The computers have won. About 10 years ago I learned to send e-mail. I thought I had successfully climbed Mount Everest. I was able to lead a full, rich, happy, self-actualized life limiting my computer usage to e-mails. I then decided to take the fateful step to go online. I asked my secretary, Lynn, how to do it. She said I had to type in a Web addresswww something or other. I did so. Nothing happened. I called her to tell her nothing happened. She said, Did you hit enter? I said no. She said it wont work unless you hit enter. I said, You didnt tell me I had to hit enter to make it work. Lynn said, I realize now I should have. I hit enter. I got in. What a nightmare. I entered an Orwellian world of menus, links, downloads, scrolls, and side bars. Never again, I said.

But now I cant avoid them anymore. Computers have become metabolized into humanity. I like a particular brand of coffee that can only be purchased online. Not enough consumer demand to actually stock it on the shelves of a grocery store, so Im told. I hear about an interesting news item on television. After 20 seconds of information, I am told to go online to the TV stations Web site to get more details about the story. I am told I can save money by buying my airline tickets online. More accurately, it costs more money to buy an airline ticket from a fellow human being. I could go on and on, but you know the elandscape better than I. Which brings me to the point of this column. Not only have computers taken over our lives like an alien invasion, they now force us to speak their language. The language reminds me of a variation of pig Latin. In pig Latin baby is aby-bay. In computer language its ebaby. Everyday words in the English language now have an e prefix to denote we are referring to their electronic computerized manifestation. And they are so slick, so smug, so self-assured about it. All they do is take the letter e, italicize it, and slap it in front of any real word to create a morphed, hip derivative we are all supposed to understand. A notice at my pharmacy says I must verify receiving prescription medication. Im supposed to sign some minicomputer screen with an epen. At the SIOP conference, I learned we are now talking about eHR.

Well folks, two can play this game. What follows are 40 e-words. I just made them up. They are not really e-words as much as emeanings attached to real words. I hope you enjoy them. I was laughing through my tears as I wrote them.

eclipsewhat is used to hold together pages in cyberspace
ecologywhat you improve when you delete unwanted e-mails
economythe amount of money spent buying stuff online
edemaa medical condition evidenced by a mailbox swollen with spam
egoa sense of identity you feel when you actually get your computer to perform 
egretan ugly, scrawny bird you envy because it goes through life with out ever needing a computer
egyptwhat you feel when the latest software product you purchased was a complete waste of money
ejectthe button you push to remove a disk from your computer
ekewhat you say when you are startled by your mouse
elapsethe number of times you have to run to the I.T. office for help
elatefeeling good about being tardy to join a chat room
electthe uneasy decision to reveal your credit card number online
electoral collegesomehow you can never find a ball score for this school when you search online
electra complexthe strange realization your computer is more stimulating than your husband
electricitythat which powers your computer when you plug it in
elevenone hour before noon or midnight on your computer clock
elitethe chosen few whose work productivity is actually enhanced with a computer
emaciatedyour appearance after repeatedly skipping lunches to make your computer attend obedience school
emancipationthe sense of freedom you feel when you hand write a letter or make a phone call instead of sending an e-mail
emergencywhat prompts people to call their I.T. department
emeritusthe title university professors desire to attain if they are retired before their old office computer
emissionsomething you are on; a hard but attainable goal you set for yourself to learn some computer function
emotionthe feeling (often negative and intense) you experience when your computer doesnt do what it is supposed to do
emua flightless population mean presented online
enigmathe riddle of why simultaneously pressing the control, alt, and delete keys achieves anything of value
epitomethe very essence of being a technonerd
equalthe approximate ratio of spam to valid e-mail
equatorthe midpoint of cyberspace
equestrianonline horse racing, more sophisticated than solitaire but less complex than video poker
equipa clever comment made online
equivocatorsbloggers who cant make up their mind on any issue 
erectionwhen your computer freezes stiff; erections lasting more than 4 hours, although rare, require immediate I.T. attention
eroticaa porn site
eruptionwhat happens when you are two sentences from completing a long narration and the whole thing disappears from your computer screen
esophagusthe final resting place of an annoying e-mail that really sticks in your craw
eternitythe length of time it takes to get online if you have a dial-up modem
evaporatewhat happens to your patience when your computer repeatedly rejects your password
evensomething you get when you successfully retaliate against your computer, as shutting it down when it misbehaves
eventhow each of us finds a way to dissipate the rage we feel when our computer fails
evila description of the person who invented spam

Had enough?

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