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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 21, 2010

In world of words, 'unsubscribe' is tops

By Lorraine Gershun

The first time I noticed a word morph from one part of speech to another was several years ago with the word "bold." My students were working on computers.

"Should I bold this title?" they would ask. And just like that, a typeface transformed from an adjective to a verb. Teenagers and technology and language in transition together. Quite bold if you ask me.

And then it was "text." Teenagers again. "Text me," we now say. Noun to verb. It is even accompanied by a universal hand signal, the double thumb dance.

There's "disrespect" and "bad." One now a verb, the other a noun. "Don't disrespect me."

My bad.

Lately I've been enamored with "unsubscribe." This one comes with a button.

I recently discovered that glorious link at the end of an annoying promotional e-mail and have been doing the "click here" ever since.

It is incredibly cathartic.

I have been tolerating these electronic marketing campaigns for the longest time, under the ignorant impression that "delete" was my only recourse. I had no idea I could simplify my inbox so easily and put a stop to the endless barrage of enticing offers to save and spend and click and shop.

All I have to do is look at the fine print, follow a few simple directions and I have successfully been removed from the roster.

I've started to imagine its power beyond the Internet. Kind of like the universal remote in the movie "Click."

Instead of fast-forward or pause or mute, I could just unsubscribe. The laundry, the dishes, maybe even the bills. It would be modern magic, using technology to solve life's problems. I would unsubscribe!

And probably, just like in the movies, it would come back to haunt me in some not so mysterious ways. I guess I'll stick to reality for now and be satisfied that I get less spam.

Who cares if it is a noun, a verb, an adjective or even a word. In this case, it gets the job done with the push of a button.

And to this I wholeheartedly subscribe.