Growing up, the phrase “Leave it on the machine” meant one thing and one thing only:  Call me on a hardline telephone and leave a specific voice message on the answering machine connected to the hardline telephone in my house.  I’m not sure when that turn of phrase fell out of favor — does anyone say, “Leave it on voice mail” today?

Come to think of it — what did we used to say before the days of the standalone answering machine?  “Write me a letter?”  “Send it via Western Union?”  “Pony Express me?”

“Send me a letter” used to suggest a direct, human connection with someone — today, letter writing is perceived as more of an insult because it delays the notion of instant gratification.

I wonder if “Email me!” has the same authenticity as “Leave it on the machine.”

I’ve heard “SMS me” before, but not “Twitter me” so much.  “Find me on Facebook” has a social ring to it — if Facebook would actually allow you to add as many friends as you wanted.  I don’t understand why Facebook limits how many friends you can have.  For a social network, that bully behavior is incredibly anti-social.

I wonder if the more modern notion of “Find Me” is a better overall replacement to “Leave it on the machine” because it suggests a connectivity without outrageous specificity.

Here’s how my current Email signature reads:

David W. Boles, MFA

Too much information?  Not enough?  Have I properly authenticated myself?  Notice all my contact points are online and filled with content.  There’s no direct at-home method of getting in touch.  Maybe I’ll add my new 212 Area Code phone number because Google Voice does an excellent job at invisibly managing and screening all my calls.

I always find it funny when I get in touch with people I haven’t seen for a long time.  They always claim to not to know where to find me — and when I tell them I’m pretty easy to find on the internet — all they have to do, I tell them, is to “Google me.”


  1. David,

    I go straight to “Google me” because to date, I am the only Gordon Davidescu!

    I say leave a message without specifying on the voice mail because at this point people just know to leave a message on whatever format will be available to them — seems to work! 🙂

    1. Yes, Gordon, having a unique name helps a lot! You’re right that letting the person decide how to touch you is best — leave it up to their sense of what is right and appropriate.

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