I've been auto-replied six times this week. You know, that computer-generated response e-mail that tells you the person to whom you are writing is not in their office, will not return until such-and-such a date, and if you have an emergency you should contact this that or the other person.
Aside from auto-replies being mildly annoying (especially when it comes from someone who just asked me to drop everything to work on and send in something on deadline, and then they're not there to get it) I think they're utterly boring, too. If you're going to have your computer give me the brush-off, why not at least be a little more creative with the wording?
Artistic: When the planets align in the proper formation, my crystals realign my chakrahs and Pices enters the seventh house, I'm sure my muse will be at the level of maximum energy to allow me to compose the perfect organic reply to your e-mail. Until then, I hope you'll respect my process and pray to the Earth Mother for my well-being, as I do yours.
Busy: Look, I can't read this right now. In fact, I'm so swamped I can't remember the last time I went to the bathroom. So give me a couple days and I'll get back to you. Unless I blow out a kidney.
Contrite: I cannot believe that I actually missed your e-mail. What was I thinking, taking this week off to sit by my mother's bedside while she's in ICU? She's a strong old gal, I'm sure she'll live. I am so, so sorry. Believe me, you have no idea. And I won't be able to make it up to you for at least a week. Can you ever forgive me? Say you'll forgive me. Please.
Environmentally Conscious: Sorry I'm not here to answer your e-mail. I'm off trying to reduce my carbon footprint before the polar bears go extinct. Please don't waste any more of our planet's resources by trying to contact me until I get back next Monday, thanks.
Honest (artfully): Hey, thanks for your e-mail. You know, I'd respond personally but I'm in this terrible place right now, and I need some alone time. At least that's what the people at Intervention are telling me. You understand.
Honest (brutally): You again. Jesus Christ, if one more damn person whines at me I swear, I'm getting Daddy's rifle and climbing a water tower. Save some lives and leave me the hell alone for a week, will you?
Incapacitated: Would love to reply to your note, and plan to just as soon as I make bail. And just so you know, those sheep? Were asking for it.
Reassuring: Not to worry, I'm still speaking to you. Just not this week. Pay no attention to those rumors about me putting out my resume and looking to jump ship; I am 100% committed to you. Any calls asking for references are just for a car loan, I promise.
Superior: I'd answer this e-mail, but obviously you're not important enough to bother. Write back when you've achieved a bit more in life. If you ever do.
Tired: They're calling it (yawn) narcolepsy but basically twenty years of (yawn) insomnia just caught up with me. So (yawn) I'll get back to y . . . .zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Oddly enough writers never send me auto-replies, or at least none have to date. I don't think that's fair; writers should also have auto-replies for those special days when we just can't get to the e-mail. Something like:
Thanks for your e-mail. I'm busy tearing out my hair over that scene where Lucan confronts Sam over the incident in the nightclub bathroom. You know how it is; he wants to make love; she wants to shoot him with the gun that has copper bullets. It's taking forever to get through this scene, and I think if my dialogue gets any lamer Christ won't be able to heal it. So talk to you when I figure it out or I'm bald, whichever comes first.
Okay, your turn -- how would you word your auto-reply? Let us know in comments.