San Francisco Chronicle writer Jon Carroll has a quirky way of signing off at the end of each of his columns. He embeds his e-mail address in a pithy literary quote. Here's an example from Carroll's July 3, 2012, installment:
The weight of this sad time we must obey; speak what we feel and not what we ought to say. The oldest hath borne most; we that are young shall never see so much nor live so email@example.com.Do you recognize the quote? It's from the end of King Lear, which Carroll has long been mining for material. And now it had run out!
Well, that's that. "King Lear," the story of a foolish old man and the terrible price he pays for his folly, is concluded, a sentence at a time with a few omissions, and now we turn somewhere else for our e-mail line at the bottom of the column. But where?Carroll solicited suggestions from his cherished readers for a new public-domain source of meaty tag-lines. Naturally I hastened to his assistance:
Nice, huh? A good suggestion mixed in with a judicious dash of self-promotion. Carroll wrote back:
A modest suggestion:
Call me Ishmael – or firstname.lastname@example.org.
No need of profane words, however great the email@example.com.
Cutting up the fresh blubber in small bits, thrust it through the firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does it not bear a faint resemblance to a gigantic fish? even the great email@example.com?
And I only am escaped alone to tell firstname.lastname@example.org.
That could keep you in sign-off lines for a good while, no?
Of course, if you were hankering for something more contemporary, I could – in a self-promotional move – kindly offer my new novel, beginning with
Greetings! We who are about to lose salute email@example.com.
and ending with
“We have a winner,” he murmured to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately, debut novels by math professors turned writers are too obscure to give your readers the desired literary frisson, so I stick with my recommendation of the great white whale.
“There she blows! there! there! there!”
Nice stuff ...I was excessively pleased, so imagine my reaction when I read Carroll's next column and saw this at the bottom:
There's Melville, of course, and Lewis Carroll, and more Shakespeare, and nursery rhymes and old-timey proverbs, all of them candidates for the words before the e-mail line, which is email@example.com.
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having firstname.lastname@example.org.Oh, no! “We're through the looking glass, people!” (Of course, that's an allusion to Oliver Stone's epic fantasy movie JFK.)