Here's the Scoop: Oct. 22, 2008

Life without e-mail. By choice.
I did it. Almost.
When I left my office on Friday, I had to pick up a bunch of large items and was worried that my laptop computer might not receive proper treatment in the car. So, I left it in the office. This was a big step for me — like Paris Hilton leaving home without dressing her dog in an outfit that matches hers.
Nothing against Paris, but I think what I was attempting was much more difficult.
A few weeks ago, I heard someone refer to a BlackBerry — a handheld device known mostly for its ability to deliver wireless e-mail — as a Crackberry because of its addictive nature.
I’m probably a few years too late in hearing this term, but it made great sense to me. I have been around folks who carry BlackBerries. They’re like women who wear bathing suits that are too small and who spend nearly all of their day on the beach tugging the suits back into “position.”
With Blackberries, the attention these folks pay to this tiny device is nearly nonstop as they look to see if someone important (or as least more important than the people they’re with) has sent a message. It’s the e-mail version of Caller ID — sure, I love talking to you — unless someone else who I like even better gets in touch. Or, maybe these folks just like to appear really valuable.

Few exceptions
If I’m hanging out with a doctor, the message checking is OK. If not, well, my feelings might be bruised.
Because I don’t have a bunch of patients relying on my life-and-death skills, I don’t really feel a need to be “in contact” pretty much 24 hours a day. No BlackBerry for me. But the laptop is a close second.
Since purchasing a laptop about five years ago, I find it goes pretty much everywhere with me. This fact certainly makes it convenient. And really annoying.
During baseball season, this makes sense. There’s a Fantasy Baseball Team that I must keep track of — a lot. But when the regular baseball season ends, there’s no real need for me to have my computer available at all times.
Sure, there are occasions when I need to e-mail people for work. Or look up stuff on the Internet. Or stare blankly at the screen because I’m too lazy to read a book.
But not last weekend.
I left the computer sitting on my office desk like a pricey paperweight. During the course of the weekend, I drove past the office several times, but resisted temptation. Suppose there was a really vital message from someone offering me the chance to make millions just by helping them out of a jam by putting their “money” into my bank account — before I send them a big check as a thank you? Well, since those offers come via e-mail two or three times a day, they could wait.
Was there anything else I was missing? Probably not.
In fact, this instinct became quite clear on Sunday night when I finally gave in to temptation and picked up my computer because I had convinced myself that there were some hugely important e-mails with which I should deal. There weren’t any.
Instead, I had plenty of junk e-mails stacked up, but nothing that couldn’t have waited another day. Or month. Leaving the computer in the office wasn’t so bad after all. Will it become a habit…maybe. Until April anyhow.