Don’t Deny You Have an Embarrassing Junk Email

I have a junk email address that I’m embarrassed to give out. Don’t deny you know the one I’m talking about. It’s the one you made as a teen and are super ashamed of as an adult. But you don’t delete it. Because you need it.

The Internet really took off for the regular person when I was in middle school (and you bragged to your friends, “We got a computer!!!”). Instant messaging and chat rooms were the rage with my friend group, and we spent too many hours on both – when we weren’t riding bikes or raiding our moms’ kitchens in person. But to join all those online conversation platforms, I needed an email. And I had no idea where to start. My friends were coming up with things like:

  • hiphopgurl13@email.com
  • 1giant_titanic_lover@email.com
  • hansonisbetterthanboyzIImen@email.com

Ok, so not really THOSE emails, but you get the jist. And ridiculousness.

But it was the late ‘90s. And I was 13. What was I going to go with?

This dork of an early teen was really into geography (and I ended up being a social studies teacher and having a geo class for a couple years before I left the profession). I loved learning about cultures, where places were located, and just any random details of places OTHER than Nebraska (my home). So…I ventured into a book about the 50 Nifty United States.

Which also reminds me of my 50 State Quarters Collection book.

What? You didn’t have one of those? You lie. Or clearly lived a deprived childhood. Or a childhood not as sheltered as mine. Most likely that. ‘Cause I was real sheltered, y’all. You may remember the post about dates – the fruit. And I didn’t even try Runza or Amigos ‘til high school. Few experiences, y’all. Ungodly sheltered.

At any rate…I started to check out state slogans. I know, this post is not getting less dorky. But just hang with me.

When I got to North Dakota, I was in love with what I saw on the page.

Flickertail.

Oh, that sounded CUTE! I was gonna be a flickertail. No, I didn’t look up the meaning then. But I did just now. Apparently, this “refers to the…ground squirrels…abundant in North Dakota. The animal flicks or jerks its tail in a characteristic manner while running or just before entering its burrow.” Well, ok. Not exactly what I was expecting, but…that’s ok. At least it wasn’t “angelbaby.” (And I apologize if you were one of 6,592 people who had that phrase in your email address.)

I’d like to say that email filtered out after high school…but, it didn’t. I got an email from my college that I used for a number of years – even post-graduation (my school lets us keep that sucker for life!). I used that college email to get my first job, but left it for a new town with my new husband. I finally built an “adult,” professional email the week after I got married. I had a new name, and needed to find a new job. But I never gave up the flickertail.

In fact, I used it as a place for all the crap I didn’t want to have to filter through all the time. And it worked pretty well. Until this one day when I was in The Limited. You know, the women’s clothing store with very professional outfits – where I get quite a few work duds. The employees are obviously dressed like the place, and quite a few of the customers are also dressed the same.

So one Saturday afternoon I’m in there checking out the latest sales, and I look schlubby. It’s Saturday. It’s my day off. I mean, I could have worn cute flats or something, but no. I’ve got old crappy sneakers on and probably a t-shirt with a stain on it. I mean, it wasn’t like a, “I’m gonna go paint the bathroom” kind of outfit, but it was probably only one level up from that. For real. And I was going to the mall in those clothes. Seriously?! Poor life decision #1 of the day, obviously.

I get to the checkout and a few women get in line behind. I’m checking out, we get to the end of the transaction, and the sales clerk asks the dreaded question: “Can I get your email?”

Now this was several years ago, so I didn’t know better than to just say, “No.” End of conversation. No, I was a young, foolish 25-year old woman. But I was NOT going to get a daily email from The Limited in my coveted new I’m-a-grown-up-woman-and-this-is-my-big-girl-email-address. So I did it. I said, “flickertail…” and I just.about.died. All those professional-looking women heard it. They didn’t respond, but I did: in the form of a bright red embarrassed face.

I paid for my merchandise and got out of there REAL QUICK. I felt mortified.

So why am I bringing this up now? Because I needed to give this email out last week. I clearly needed the emails from this new place – but I didn’t want them clogging up my “good” email. And I felt embarrassed. It suck with me for far too long.

Checking the ol' junk email

Checking the ol’ junk email

I thought about it a lot. Why would feel embarrassed? Did the other person ever give any sort of negative reaction? No. Is flickertail really that bad? It’s not “wildpurplekitten.” (Ok, seriously, I will stop with these hilarious emails. They really are too much. But not before I share this Buzzfeed article about people who regret their teenage email address. Guy #13 is nearly too much for me. I snort-laughed, y’all.)

But now that I’ve had some time to reflect on it, I’ve realized…I’m 32. And I don’t give a damn what you think about me and my email. I’m not going to delete it because I need it for crap I don’t really need (yea, you read that correctly). And I’m not going to flinch when I give it out. So here’s to the next grown-up store that asks for my email and I proudly announce, “flickertail…”

Or maybe I’ll just say, “No. No email sign-up for me.”

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