Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 9.04.11 AMThe Teacher’s Mailroom. It’s a relic from the past. Boxes that serve as a repositories for things better ignored via email. Every once in a while the cluttered box proves its worth. I get a special treat from someone like a thank you note or a card with a candy bar attached. It keeps me checking my box. Like one of Pavlov’s dogs.

Not today. No candy with a note. No thank you card. No good news. I strike out. Just a bunch of dead trees I’ll probably toss on my desk and forget to read when the first student starts to discuss the day.

There’s a lot of reasons to fill up teachers’ mailboxes…schedules, mandates, notices, rules. I grab them and go. I intend to I read them on the way up the stairs, filing them into three mental piles…”do this,” “consider this,” and “you seriously killed a tree for this?” I mean to read every last word, but the truth is I lose focus. I’d rather talk to students about the game or their bad fashion.

Even email’s tough now…now that I’ve been properly dog-trained to send short ones and get to the point. The constant stream of “reply to all” violations and epic novels so prevalent in education…the daily updates about programs and events…it’s all bad karma beating me down for the email diatribes I produced in my former lives.

And that is why I want someone smarter than me to invent a something useful irradiate this problem. Maybe a chip or sensor I can embed into my coffee cup or implant in my arm. It’ll use some kind of electrical impulse to read my latent neurological response to email, highlighting the ones it knows will interest me, just like Amazon and Facebook know what kind of adverting will get me to respond. Hardly seems like advertising anymore.

It’ll recognize excessively long, boring emails that contain information critical to my day. It’ll distill them  into a single tweet providing me with an executive summary of everything I really need to know to survive and act intelligent.

I have a friend who doesn’t read.

“What do you mean you don’t read?” I asked him.

“I don’t read. When you finish your book I probably won’t read it.”

How can you be so successful and read so little?”

“Easy,” he replied. “I bullshit.”

This is the essence of what I want to invent. On a good day, I’ll feel briefed like the President of the United States. On a bad day, I’ll at least be able to throw down the bullshit card. I’ll sound intelligent. I had a friend in a prior career that used to carry papers around all day. That’s all he did. I asked him how he got promotions when people like me did all his work.

“Oh, I look busy all the time. I carry a file around and pretend to copy things. You should try it sometime.” Indeed I should.

I think the upgrade to this chip could be some kind of sensor that could work in people, predicting conversations I didn’t want to have.

I’m not sure how to make this, and I don’t have the skill or energy for this endeavor, but I’d pay money if it existed. I hope someday it does.

And the rainforests would sure be glad.

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