We all have our own fight or flight response when we sense danger. Some prefer to run at the first warning sign, while others stick it out and clench their fists. This instinct is as innately human as it gets.
All of history has proven, time and time again, that the two Fs are wired into our brains as intricately as a COMP 110 class. But I’d like to introduce a third reaction to the kind of danger that only Outlook email services can supply.
When thousands of UNC students accidentally get emailed an Outlook listserv chain, some fight, some take flight and some respond “take me out of this.”
Let’s back up a little.
For those of you who don’t know about the listserv emails I’m referring to, consider yourselves lucky. The chain emails began my first year. I remember the day vividly — I was sitting in my Morrison dorm room, absentmindedly reorganizing my hand sanitizer and disposable mask collection, when all of a sudden I heard a familiar noise.
“Ping.” And then again. “Ping.” “Ping.” “Ping.” “Ping.”
At a loss for words, I ran over to my laptop and clicked on my email. It was at this moment that I understood the true power Pavlov had over his dog. Without even realizing it, my body had been classically conditioned to respond to Outlook’s chime, and the little red dot next to the blue icon instantly filled my armpits with sweat and my heart with anticipation.
But instead of reading a job offer from a high-paying internship or the (no bueno) result of my last Spanish test, I found myself squinting at email after email of what looked like straight gibberish.
“Why am I on this?” one inquisitive student pondered to his 8,000 peers.