My Name as a Brown M&M

OK, so we all know at this point that the legendary Van Halen tour rider clause about removing the brown M&Ms from backstage was not just rockstar antics but was a clever hack by the band to see if people were actually reading their contracts, a bellwether if you will, a canary in the coal mine: if there were brown M&Ms backstage, then there were possibly more serious and life-threatening issues in the stage setup.

So too I have begun to treat the appearance of my name in emails as an indication of how much I'm going to need to double-check someone's work. I mean, "[INSERT_NAME_HERE]" or "Dear Network Administrator", sure, it's an instant discard, but let's go through the sliding scale:

  • Fuzzy - great, you can read, that's my name
  • Erik - alright, it is still my legal first name, and maybe you're not comfortable with the implied familiarity of the using the name that's in my email address, that I sign all my emails with, that's in my sig… Fine. But I'm going to keep my eye on you.
  • Eric - alarm bells are going off. You've now picked an alternate spelling of a name I don't use. I'm going to be double-checking any Excel sheets you send me to make sure that you're using the SUM function and aren't just adding up columns of numbers by hand (true story).
  • Fussy - fail. Or you're messing with me. Maybe I am a little OCD, but now I'll trust any information you send me as far as I can throw it.