I just got an email from some university staff person who has to send messages to some huge list. I almost didn't read it, but then thought, "What the hell; I can skim it in 15 seconds, and it might be relevant to some aspect of my life." The actual content of the email wasn't anything I need to know, but her signature caught me: it read, "Please consider the environment before printing this email."
I have friends and colleagues who print out all their email. It makes me crazy. It's such a waste--of paper, of toner, of energy, of space, of everything. I realize there are times when you have to print out an email, but 99 times out of 100, you don't.
One of the reasons I still like and use the email organizer Eudora is that it lets you have all sorts of signatures and choose a different one each time you send an email. On my old desktop I had something like 30 signatures. On my laptop I've only entered ten, one being my home address, another being my work address, a third being the url for my blog, and the rest being quotes I like, including this favorite, something US Grant wrote shortly before he died:
I do not sleep though I sometimes doze off a little. If I am up I am talked to and in my efforts to answer cause pain. The fact is I think I am a verb instead of a personal pronoun. A verb is anything that signifies to be; to do; to suffer. I signify all three.
I also love this from Plainwater by Anne Carson:
It is an endeavor as old as civilization to set out on a road that is supposed to take you to the very end of things, if you keep going. What do you find there? That is a good question. Who would you be if you knew the answer? There is one way to find out. So a pilgrim sets off. One thing is certain, one item is constant in the set of beliefs with which he travels. It is simply this, that when you reach the place called the end of the world, you fall off into the water. Some pilgrims drown, some do not. Claro.
I like this from John Quincy Adamas as well:
America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own...she would involve herself...in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition.... She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.
But my new default signature is definitely going to be "Please consider the environment before printing out this email."