judge david langham 240538639

Tonight’s Plot

judge david langham 240538639

There was a wonderful cartoon creation that became popular in the mid-1990s, a throwback to the days of thoughtful and imaginative entertainment. This involved Pinky, a somewhat challenged mouse serving as sidekick to the inimitable villain of the series known merely as Brain. Not a misspelling, the show was Pinky and the Brain (P&B), a Steven Speilberg production. Two able mice on a mission for world conquest.

The episodes often included a tag-line exchange between our two enthusiastic plotters:

Pinky: Gee, Brain. What are we going to do tonight?

The Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world.

In every episode, they were going to take over the world. In a classical homage to many villains battled by James BondMatt HelmOur Man Flint, and Austin Powers, these villains persisted in outrageous and humorous attempts to take over the world. They never dealt with the challenges we face today. Those super-spy movies were myopic in their focus on the Cold War, the Space Race, the War on Drugs, and other distractions of madmen. They did not touch on the threats of identity theft, computer hacking, financial meltdowns, ghastly viral pandemics, and more.

Brain was confident. Asked once by Pinky why he was taking over the world, he assured "Because with me in charge it will be a better place."

P&B tried to disrupt a UN peace summit. They attempted to scam a Russian Czar. In one episode they sought to replace the Declaration of Independence with a Declaration of Obedience (not a novel idea). In a tribute (perhaps) to Professor Alfred Kokintz, they once sought to extort foreign aid from the United States. They started a cult, attempted to persuade world leaders to merely give in, and launched a reality TV show. Great ideas all. In an episode that might not make it today, they even plotted to marry for money. They were entertaining and suitable for all ages.

I think of Brain as I ponder what I will do when I take over the world. Make no mistake, I am plotting and planning. And yes, "with me in charge it will be a better place." My latest plan is a computer virus I have been working on. It will infiltrate the email systems of the world and permanently disable the "reply all" function. Mwahahahahahaha.

In the process, I believe I can cut the inbox traffic of most Americans in half, to their unmitigated joy and delight. There is nothing more perturbing than an inbox eruption and landslide caused by a colleague or connection reaching out to a dozen or more contacts (listing them in the "to" category). These inquiries are often innocuous or sometimes even meaningless. Nonetheless, there are times you need to reach out to many people.

Note that if you paste all those addressees into the "bcc" category, the "reply to all" button won't function. Yes, by being a considerate sender/originator, you too can help save the world. But I digress. 

That innocent entreaty sent to 12 people asking if Thursday or Tuesday is better for a meeting leads all those addressees to reply. Well, if only. They, for whatever reason, seem to all pick "reply all." Some of the challenge here is the iOS system (your iPhone) that defaults to "reply all." You have to manually constrain your response to simply "reply." If I could tell you how to change that default, I would. My virus will change it, Mwahahahahahaha.

In one recent eruption, there was an innocuous and innocent inquiry sent to a great many in the workers' compensation world (193 of them). The responses soon followed: "I can," "I can't," "I can." Within minutes, one respondent we will merely call "Pinky," hit reply-all, and asked "Please, Please, Please---LET THIS BE THE LAST REPLY ALL." (Note the all-caps, SCREAMING, frustrated). Amen. Ditto. Same. Hey, "I didn't get a harrumph outta that guy!"

So, the question really comes down to this. Will you, can you, use the bcc function to hinder the recipients of your message? That would be great!

Could you, will you, refrain from the "reply all" discord and dissonance? Or shall I really unleash my virus and take over the world? It is largely up to you. As Smokey says "only you . . ."

That said, I would have no idea how to write a computer virus. Sorry. So, if you want a virus, this will have to be a do-it-yourself. Please delete your own hard-drive, mail your own bank details to everyone in your address book, and forward this post to everyone you know. Thanks for your support, patience, and participation in this do-it-yourself plot. 

More importantly, thank you for using the "bcc" when you must, and the "reply to all" only in the event you honestly and consciously believe that all 193 recipients need to know your answer. When you are not conscious and careful, you are merely filling everyone's email box with unnecessary emails that distract and waste time. 

With your help, we can end this scourge. And, in the process, you will forestall or at least delay my plot to take over the world. And, as Brain repeatedly asked, "are you pondering what I am pondering?" Let's hope so. Let's hope you are pondering a world without cascading email eruptions, annoyance, and waste. 

By Judge David Langham

Courtesy of Florida Workers' Comp

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    About The Author

    • Judge David Langham

      David Langham is the Deputy Chief Judge of Compensation Claims for the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims at the Division of Administrative Hearings. He has been involved in workers’ compensation for over 25 years as an attorney, an adjudicator, and administrator. He has delivered hundreds of professional lectures, published numerous articles on workers’ compensation in a variety of publications, and is a frequent blogger on Florida Workers’ Compensation Adjudication. David is a founding director of the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary and the Professional Mediation Institute, and is involved in the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA) and the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC). He is a vocal advocate of leveraging technology and modernizing the dispute resolution processes of workers’ compensation.

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