There's a famous quote from Thomas Jefferson printed on the side of my most-used mug that reads, "Coffee -- the favorite drink of the civilized world." This mug can only be used for coffee as it is no doubt composed of a ceramic/C-4 plastic explosive hybrid and will self-destruct in 30 seconds should something wimpy like chamomile tea come in contact with its surface.
As quotes go, this is also a good one: "What seems impossible may, in fact, only be very, very difficult." It's from Frank Oppenheimer, founder of the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco and was recently posted on the museum's website on what would have been his 100th birthday. I may print it out and tape it to my computer.
Apparently his most famous saying was, "No one ever flunked a museum." Not really sure what that one means. Sounds as though a museum has never flunked out of anything, like, say, a math class, although I fail to see why such an institution would be taking such a class and how it would even fit in one of those cramped little school desks to begin with. Not saying American museums are obese. Just saying.
I'd rather be sailing
Quotes are great on things like mugs and refrigerator magnets and T-shirts, and if I were a person who included a pithy or motivational axiom from a famous dead person on my business email signature, I would use that first Oppenheimer quote. But I am not such a person. In fact,
Behold some actual sig quotes recently received on emails here at the newspaper:
On a news release about a community event from a local fire department: "The bumble bee's wings are so thin and its body so big, it should not be able to fly. The only problem is the bee doesn't know that." -- David Lindsey. What does that even mean?
On an email from a PR person: "If only I had two dollars left, I would spend one on PR." -- Bill Gates.
And then there was this mini novel beneath one woman's cyber salutation: "Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only after the last wolf, buffalo and horse has been slaughtered, only then will we find that money cannot be eaten." -- Cree Nation.
Consider not doing this
Even without a pithy quote, email signatures are now typically laden with 452 lines of titles, office numbers, cell phone numbers, Twitter handles, Facebook and LinkedIn addresses, website addresses and sometimes even the person's email address, which is a bit redundant considering it's, um, on the person's email.
Some of the worst sigs are not quotes, but pleas to "Please consider the environment before printing this email," as though the message is so incredibly interesting that I surely cannot resist the temptation to print it out and possibly frame it. Here's an extreme version a friend received and saved, and I absolutely promise it is real and it was not from me: "Please remember, respect, rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle, renew, refresh, recover, restore, refuse, reintegrate, revitalize, replant, replanet, regreen, refurbish, regrow, retree, recreate, regenerate, recharge, rebirth, rehabilitate, root." Root? That doesn't even fit the "re" theme. And some of those aren't even real words. If this came in contact with a coffee mug, the mug would surely explode.
Columnist, staff feature writer and/or other impressive business title
Generally nice person, except when it comes to email signatures
Bay Area News Group
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"Eat your peas." -- My mom, circa 1974
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