My friend Joanne, the queen of the seven-layer dip, has a great saying when it comes to communicating online: email has no tone. She has to remind herself constantly with this saying as she deals with buttheads all day. It helps her keep things in perspective.

It comes in really handy when the first thought that enters your head when reading an email is "What's wrong with you?" Sometimes it's best to step away from the keyboard. Especially when the writing is being problematic at best and the ability to conjugate verbs is at an all-time low.

:::borrows matchbook from Wylie and sets the last chapter, which includes a two-page description of a dress. on fire:::

As for me, I do the whole "How will I feel about this five years from now?" determination. It turns out that most of the stuff I spend hours/days/months worrying about doesn't add up to a hill of beans, with or without Humphrey Bogart being involved.

Another handy trick, borrowed from Clay Aiken and shaken up, is the good-old WWMD, which stands for What Would Madonna Do?

It kind of removes any limits, dontcha think? And no, I'm too worried about Zaphod at the vet's today to do any parody writing right now. Maybe next week.

What about you? How do you keep things real?