aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

Why You Should Always Check Your E-Mail

Posted by Ellen on April 21, 2011

Several years ago while working at an elearning development company, I received this e-mail message with the subject line: “dance assembly.” Having also worked in the arts (though in writing rather than dance…) I opened the message to read the following plea:

“I am trying to arrange performances for a school assembly in Brecksville in May.  We need two shows done back-to-back of about 50 minutes each.  What days do you have available in May and what are the fees for the Spanish Dancers?  Thanks for your help.”

Though I’ve worked among many bright, witty, talented people over the years, none have compared as a group to my colleagues at Novations Learning Technologies (a now-defunct arm of the Novations Group, though I’ve heard through the grapevine they now miss our talents and are scouting out new elearning developers). So, knowing they’d get a bang out of the message, I sent it to a few co-workers saying that maybe we could still help poor woman out.

I was not disappointed. Within minutes, one of my buds responded:


Dear Sarah,

Thank you for your inquiry.  We have a limited number of openings in May since most of our performers prefer to vacation during that month.  You see, while the Spanish dancers are heavily booked for Cinco de Mayo performances that go well past cinco de Mayo, the contortionist and the albino fire eater prefer to recover from a long, hard winter, since they perform outdoors, usually in the nude. Further, our pony-and-hairless-chimp act tends to go on hiatus during that time, since their east Romanian trainer’s case of
narcolepsy seems to be most acute in May.

So while we may be able to squeeze the Spanish dancers in for you sometime in late May, chances are the only other acts that will accompany them are the penguin-tossing jugglers, the lady with the beard of bees, the Canadian Mountie with fourteen toes (the foot with two toes is cool, but you should see the other foot!) and a guy named Bob who sticks knitting needles through his neck. Rest assured, these acts should pad a fifty minute performance with no trouble at all.

Let me know if you’re still interested.  I hope to hear from you soon.

I can’t remember now if I actually sent the note or settled for the boring, “Sorry your e-mail must have been misdirected but I wanted you to know so you can re-send it,” but I’ll never forget how that e-mail and the response from my co-workers lightened an otherwise hectic, stressful day in the midst of a crazy project schedule.

May it be a lesson to all of us to find the fun where we can, and to read every e-mail that isn’t clearly spam.

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