Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Deb: I just read an article in today’s paper that said that Google Labs is testing a new “undo” button on its “send function” that would give us 30 seconds to stop an email from reaching our boss, boyfriend, neighbour, friend or anyone else we have issue with. It’s called “Undo Send”.

Funny that this comes in the wake of my blog last week about the letter I wrote and ultimately did not send to my neighbour. Being able to blog about it got it all out of my system and with your supportive responses I was able to get over it. That neighbour is now, as advised by my dear friend Annette “dead to me”.

But it got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be great to have an undo button in life? How many times have I said something and watched the words ramble out of my mouth, wishing I could leap in like wonder woman and stop them with my stylish cuffs before they reached the ears of the intended.

I wouldn’t want them just to stop mean things I have said in the past, although that would be so sweet. I want them to stop the stupid, the thoughtless, the things we all do every single day that still when recalled can bring a full on flush to my whole body.

Things like the classic, “Congratulations. When is the baby due?”. UNDO! “Well I never liked your boyfriend anyway, he was such a pig…. Oh ... that’s great ... when did you ... umm ... get back together? ... Married? ... Oh ... how ... umm ... yeah ... umm ... nice. UNDO! “Hi, Bob. Oh this must be your mother. How lovely to finally meet ... your wife? ... Of course ... I guess the sun was in my eyes and I ... er ... umm. UNDO!

And I also wonder how many “I love you’s” I’d UNDO that I gave so willingly to boys that were undeserving? And how many self-deprecating statements would I undo because I didn’t have the grace to handle a compliment? How many “snaps” at husband and child because I was just too tired and crabby to answer in a civil tongue? ALL-UNDO!

But as I am writing this and taking a second look at the UNDO as an aid, and as I look back at my life, I realize that all of these gaffes, these knee-jerks, these quips, and thoughtless comments are what made me me. They have allowed me to examine myself and improve myself and to assess myself and to forgive myself. As horrible as some of these memories are, they are the stained fabric of the Deb quilt, the little bits that the Tide-stick of life cannot completely erase. They are there for a reason. So I will UNDO the UNDOING. And, note to Google––it needs to be a helluva lot longer than 30 seconds, my friends. And it should come with a Breathalyzer.

Barbara: Ooh, I didn’t hear about this new button. Undo. Yeah, I’d need way longer than 30 seconds. Oh, the email-letters I’ve regretted sending. Much like your letter to your neighbour—the email I’ve written in anger or in haste always come back to slap me in the face. Hard. But I don’t want to take the email back until much later, after I’ve cooled down and realized IT IS NOT WORTH IT. Some people will just never get it.

Or undoing the haphazard comments made in real life? Me talking to a young hotshot director while she told me about a novel she’d just written. Me: “That’s great! Is it fiction or non-fiction?” UNDO! UNDO! She: “Well … isn’t a novel always fiction?” Me (red-faced, mortified): “Mm-hm, of course.”

I also want to thank you for your last thought, Deb—because I so agree. Why always punish ourselves for our own life lessons? They are difficult but potentially handy tools for growth and self-discovery.

And, yeah, a breathalyzer wouldn’t hurt…


  1. Yes, please. Although, I agree the email undo button should last longer - at least as long as a trip to the potty and back to the computer or a trip to the fridge for a Diet Coke and back - long enough for the "oooooohhhh shit" to sink in.

    I have some of the same undo gaffe moments, but when I look back on life, the biggest "undo wishes" that I have, biggest regrets, are actually moments when I wish I had said something (or something different) or just plain acted instead of letting something occur unchallenged instead of trying to keep the peace or make everything ok and, well, get steamrollered by mean people. The undos I wish for are the times I wish I could go back and stick up for myself and take better care of myself. I'd like to undo some critical spineless moments and go back and be a stronger woman.

  2. Truer words were never spoken Rigel. They remain my only real regrets in life those moments where I did not speak up or stand up for myself. Since I was a kid, I was pretty good at standing up for others but I let myself down on numerous occasions.

  3. 15 seconds to undo a send- what is the point? And having that only makes it worse, because otherwise we could wish for an undo button knowing it didn't exist.
    And yes, there are words I would like to undo- I know even as I am uttering them that I should not, but can't stop them from coming out.

    Barbara- novels are generally fiction, but that is definitely NOT an undo moment- she was just being a smart ass

  4. That would be great if life had an UNDO button. I know there are somethings in my life that I wish I could take back. Maby somethings that I have said and done that I wish I could take back. The way that I look at it is that the things that I have said and done are in the past. True it would be nice to have an Undo button but it's in the past and it's nothing that can be done about it. Now I know that I just have to watch what I say and do now so I don't need an undo button in life.

  5. If I had an Undo button that worked too quickly, there are a lot of things I wouldn't have done and places I wouldn't have ended up in life. Fortunately for me, in the long run I'm very thankful there was no Undo button at the time.
    "What, I'm pregnant? Undo! UNDO!!"
    Just one example.

  6. Rayna good theory on the undo button but in fairness to the folks at Google, it is 30seconds. But I know what you are thinking "so what good is 30 seconds" and you'd be right. And Lyndsie never fear cause the life undo button would have to be a chip embedded in our heads...hmmmnnn, not a bad idea! Katrinka the pregnant example made me take a pregnant pause and realize what a brilliant example that was!

  7. Deb, I haven't heard of the undo button yet. But I posted a similar post on the preview and edit blog buttons. I came to the same conclusion you did. If we could make life perfect what a boring place this would be. No one ever gets a laugh at a situation gone right.
    I have to agree with you and Rigel as well. You can run all over me, but don't even think about messing with friends or family.
    Barb, just wanted to thank you for your last post. It gave me the idea for my post today.

  8. There's just life, so true. How. Damn. Boring. Agreed.

  9. In real life, I speak fairly slowly, and am pretty good about self censoring. In fact probably I have more moments where I regret MISSING the opportunity to say something (I know--unfathomable compared to my writing stuff). But if there were an undo button next to the Vodka bottle, that would be VERY good... you see, a gal who self censors sober, sometimes has a lot to say when she's had a couple...

    And a bit YES on the 'I love yous'... I have had relationships where that was the fill in every time I was afraid to bring something up...

    I think an undo would take away a critical tool for getting to know people--even that difference of who speaks their mind and who self-censors tells us a lot. You know where I want it? Blogger and Facebook...though rather than undo, I'd like an 'edit comment'... Typos are the bane of my existence.

  10. Hart, ahhh to be a slow talker. I myself can go a mile a minute and the gaffe sneaks out before my brain catches up with my words. And I think you make another case for the breathalizer on the computer keyboard.

  11. the breathalyzer end note made me laugh out loud. And I, too, would need at least 3 minutes. Also, an eject button... it usually takes me walking away from the computer to realize what a dolt i've been. Sometimes, I should just duct tape my fingers. And so it goes.

  12. Okay Gae, I will add duct taped fingers to my list too, you know for those nights where someone keeps filling my wine glass without my knowledge.


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