Anger Management

I get some interesting stuff in my email — lots of recipes and cooking tips, lots of animal rescue/environmental newsletters, and tons of stuff wanting me to buy buy buy.

Last week, in the Urban Daddy newsletter (yeah, I subscribe; they’re giving away a $2000 grill package, which tempted me beyond all control), they wrote about a new email program called ToneCheck.

Okay, so you’re pissed off by the nasty note sent by your boss/editor/agent/a reader . . . whatever. If you’re like most of us, you whip out a response. Of course, if you send it, you’re going to be in deep sh*t, so this program will basically critique it for you. It looks for “angry” language, cursing, aggressiveness, etc., so when you hit Send, the program stops the process and says, “Hey, are you sure you want to start out with ‘Jane, you $&%#ing ignorant slut’?”

BTW, the program also has a positivity checker, so when you email your editor to tell her you love the idea of killing off your hero in chapter one and you can’t wait to come up with a new hero for your heroine to fall in love with and, oh, it’s so cool that she wants you to give your heroine a complete makeover from inside out and do it all in three weeks, because Ms. Editor is just the greatest person in the whole world!!!!!!!!!!! It’ll stop that, too, to ask if you really want the prize for suck-up of the universe.

Hm. I’ve had such a program for a loooong time. It’s called Common Sense. My mama gave it to me many years ago, and it’s rarely developed a glitch at all. I have a backup program, too, called Meg And Susan. If I have to vent, I can do it to them with no consequences beyond sympathy and (usually) a good laugh.

I admit to an occasional lapse. I got an email from a reader once informing me in the smug, condescending tones of Know-It-Alls everywhere that most Georgians do not consider Georgia to be part of “the South.” Having lived in or next door to Georgia for much of my life, I zipped back a response: “Have you ever been to Georgia? Do you know where it is?? Have you ever even talked to a Georgian???” Because every native Georgian I ever met lived by the motto, American by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

Are we really, as a people, so devolved that we need a computer program to tell us when we’re being rude or about to shoot ourselves in the foot?

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10 thoughts on “Anger Management

  1. Marilyn,

    When you first started talking about ToneCheck, I thought, “I wonder how much it costs?” Then you got all ‘I don’t need it!’

    There are *LOT* of people who need a program like this. I can think of two or three examples. Let me give you one example: I know a woman, very intelligent, private school upbringing raised by professors. When she speaks at work, everyone thinks she’s speaking down to them, being condescending. Something about her word choice or intonation puts everyone’s feathers up. I shared an office for her for years–and became very good friends with her. I never felt she was speaking down to me, but I saw her over and over offend people that we worked with. As they stomped out of the office, she would look crushed and I’d try to imagine how her words were misconstrued.

    Most often, the damage was done in emails–when the usual physical clues are absent–and she spent a lot of time going over her messages trying to make sure that she would not be misunderstood. She could use this software, just as a ‘jumping off point’ for her in office memos.

    If it ‘learns’ or can be fine tuned, then I think it would be very advantageous for the socially retarded… and they are OUT THERE!! Really, Marilyn. I’ve worked in IT. spw

    • Okay, I’m rethinking this. I wouldn’t want it, but for anyone out there who needs it or knows someone who does, I can see its value. I don’t know about its learning or fine-tuning, if any. But they have a website –http://tonecheck.com/ — and you can try it for free.

      If anyone does give it a shot, post here and let me know what you think.

    • Aw, RD, I find that hard to believe. No filter — yeah. No common sense? Hey, you found RWI and became a Slut. You’ve got SOME sense! 😉

  2. I always write out my rants, then print them. I read what I’ve written out loud, adding the appropriate hand gestures. After making the necessary corrections, I save the message to my save file, wait three days, then go back and read it again. Usually, my anger has passed by then and I can delete the honest one and write one that is less hostile, but gets my point across. Some messages I get are just to ignorant to respond to, so I ignore them.

    • Good system, Jackie. I usually write my rants, too, then email them to myself. If I still want to send it the next time I get online, which may be the next day or several days later, then I do. And I cringe every time I get online after that in case I’ve gotten an answer!

  3. Marilyn:

    I love that you have a program called Common Sense. Ain’t it a shame it’s really not all that common?

    Not sure this is relevant, but for the record, you wouldn’t believe how many rants my shower head and steering wheel have heard! They don’t talk back. They just listen, and I know they won’t repeat I word I’ve said. And I feel so much better after a looong shower or a looong drive.

    • Maybe we should change the name to Uncommon Sense. 😉

      I rant to my computer and my dogs for the same reason you use the shower head and steering wheel. After I unload on the puppers and say, “Am I right?”, they give me a “kiss” or rub up against me. Sure, they only want to be scratched, but it always makes me feel like they’re agreeing with me.

  4. Hm . . . true about the dependable friends. I’ve never listened to Dr. Laura. In fact, I tend to tune out TST… people (unless they’re talking directly to me, in which case I silently fantasize about smacking them upside the head or zapping them to the outermost regions of the Milky Way galaxy), but I know they’re out there. So I guess there IS an audience out there. Thank God it isn’t me!

  5. LOL, RD. I can just see you going all “Oh, no she didn’t.”

    My mom was very emotional, and so am I, so she taught me to think twice very early on. I have to be really freaked out to say something that I’ll regret later, but email is easier to screw up, since it’s not face to face. Hence the sending-to-myself cooling off period.

    I hadn’t noticed that you edit your comments. Hmm . . . I shall be on the lookout from now on. 😉

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