Sunday, 9 October 2011

lawrenceofarabia@hotmail.co.ar



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Lawrence of Arabia will go down in history as the shortest, most succinct postal address.
Back in the early 20th century, from Damascus to Medina, the conversation between workers in sorting offices across the Arabian peninsula went something like…
‘I hate this job – the Bedouin always moving around. Don’t they ever leave a forwarding address? There’s no tent number on this envelope mate.’
‘Stick it in that bag, Abdul.’
‘Which one?’
The one marked ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW)

Didn’t matter where he was, Lawrence wasn’t about to miss out on correspondence through a nomadic lifestyle.
T.E. Lawrence was ahead of the game when it came to choosing an address to receive mail, although it’s true he would have also opened himself up to junk mail following him around the Near East. Offers on pizza, and double glazing – most galling in the heat of the desert.
There’s reason to believe that Lawrence developed a disdain for communications. He blew up telegraph poles carrying vital messages for the Turkish army. An attitude which would have hampered had he tried, in the modern era, setting up an email account. By the time he’d kicked his aversion to communications, he’d be getting the message ‘lawrenceofarabia@hotmail.co.ar (where ‘ar’ could stand for Arabia) has been taken. Please choose another name.’ Every other Lawrence living in Arabia would have vied for the very same address. Not to worry, though. Taking his cue from other people signing up for an email address, who have found countless other namesakes, Lawrie could have signed up as something like ‘lawrenceofarabia73@hotmail.co.ar’.
There would have been signs that in other ways, Lawrence was ahead of the game. He would have signed off his letters ‘LOL’, an abbreviation of Lawrence, used extensively today to tell people you are laughing out loud (‘SI’ touted to be an alternative in future, an acronym for ‘Sniggered Internally’). Some might go further and suggest that Lawrence was before his time and was indeed using LOL in its modern sense, though he did go through the First World War pretty focussed on being suitably grim as befitted the occasion. Especially, one might suppose, the day when he was buggered by a host of Turkish soldiers. Instead he may have more likely innovated using the sad face emoticon if that day had not gone as well as he had hoped… or perhaps not. He may have used the smiley face if the buggering had come after two other misfortunes visited on him that day. We all know that bad things come in threes, so the buggering would have said to him phew, glad that’s all over. What was that about?

1 comment:

  1. Haha, I guess we owe that much to Lawrence of Arabia then.

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