I’d like to tell you how I retroactively got my email address mentioned in a song that was recorded 10 years ago, and simultaneously saved a Canadian band from having committed an egregious grammatical and/or technical error. I’m rather proud of this feat, though I realize the only people who will genuinely think it’s cool are Canadian MobileMe members who listened to the music of an obscure comedy folk trio a decade ago. To both of you: yes, I rock.
The Arrogant Worms have been recording funny songs since 1992. Some of their best-known hits (and I use the term loosely) are “Carrot Juice Is Murder” (iTunes – lyrics), “The Last Saskatchewan Pirate” (lyrics), “Jesus’ Brother Bob” (iTunes – lyrics), and “The Mounted Animal Nature Trail” (lyrics). Morgen turned me on to them way back when, and we went to two or three of their concerts during the years we were living in Vancouver.
On their 1999 album Dirt was a track called “Log In to You” (iTunes – lyrics), a goofy love song consisting mainly of mildly suggestive computer terms. A few weeks ago, I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep, and for some reason I couldn’t get that song out of my head. You know how it is. In particular, I kept thinking about the following sequence of words that’s repeated several times in the song:
Naturally, you can’t hear the line break, so even though there’s a beat between the two parts, it’s not clear whether they were intended to be thought of as a single unit or as two units.
When the album came out, I read a number of complaints about that part of the song, to the effect that it made the band sound computer-illiterate. The sequence “www.love” sounds like the beginning of a Web URL, but there being no .love top-level domain, it’s sort of left hanging. It sounds weirdly incomplete, like someone saying “www.apple” with nothing following it.
The second part, “[email protected],” could of course be a valid email address. But given the proximity to the “www.love” bit, listeners were forced to draw one of two conclusions. Either the two parts were intended to be understood as disconnected (in which case you get the incomplete-URL problem) or the two parts were intended to be understood as a whole unit (in which case you have an awkward blend of the start of a Web URL with the end of an email address that doesn’t make any sense). One way or another, it was clear that the song had problems. Some fans even suggested that the “@” was actually “and,” which would have made the whole string “www.loveyouandme.com” – a reasonable interpretation if true, but careful listening proves without a doubt that it’s pronounced “at” and not “and.”
Well, as I was wrestling with insomnia that night, I realized a few things. First, anything ending in @me.com is theoretically available as a MobileMe email address. Second, the string “www.loveyou” is a perfectly well-formed email user name that could go in front of the @me.com part. And third, as a MobileMe user I can add up to five free aliases that point to my main me.com address. What are the chances, I wondered, that I could actually add the alias “www.loveyou” to my me.com account? I had to find out, so I got out of bed, logged in, and 30 seconds later, the deed was done.
Shockingly, I’ve received not a single spam message at that address yet. (Don’t feel obligated to be the first, either. Really.) But I’m proud to say that, as of now, if anyone were to listen to that song and type those two lines into their email client as a single literal email address, it would not only work, it would go to me, a bona fide computer geek and Arrogant Worms fan. (And, to answer the obvious question, of course I tried to get “[email protected]” too, but unsurprisingly, it wasn’t available.)
So, Worms: you’re welcome. No charge. That’s nothing for nothing!
(Everyone else: Buy my book on MobileMe. Ten bucks, and well worth it!)