I am too proud to tell you exactly how many unread emails remain in my inbox at the moment. I’m usually able to handle the dozens upon dozens (sometimes hundreds) of emails I receive all day, every day, in an efficient manner. But if I get just a few days behind, everything snowballs. Even as I continue reading, responding and deleting emails throughout the workday, it barely makes a dent, and I look up from my diligent email-clearing attempts only to find that I’m still buried under 297 unread messages. (Oops, guess I let it slip.)

I’m constantly on the offense against all those wildly irrelevant distibution lists that include my email address among their numbers. I can’t even count (please don’t make me) how many inappropriate or misdirected emails I receive every day: the PR employee trying to pitch me a story about the benefits of an all-peanut diet, or the guy in Nigeria who is way too intent on giving me his inheritance. And maybe the Society in Search of the Perfect Dill Pickle and Americans United for Better-Fitting Doggy Sweaters are great organizations that serve a purpose, but they don’t serve my purpose. Unless you have a workplace safety angle on dog sweaters or successful wellness incentives that include free jars of pickles, that is.

Often I’ll send the same organization’s emails straight to my Deleted folder for months at a time before I finally unsubscribe and (hopefully) end their particular brand of clutter for good. But today, while feeling overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do it, I accidentally clicked on one of these nice-organization-but-not-very-relevant-to-me emails. And you know what? I’m glad I did, because it at least put a smile on my face. Here it is, in part:

American Bird Conservancy, bowing to a tidal wave of public opinion, has declared the Peep (Marshmallicious delicious) to be this year’s Easter bird of the week, and has further announced it is to be split into four bird species. The reselection of 2011’s choice was based on popular opinion. “I couldn’t fight it any longer. The time has come – it was a no brainer for me,” ABC President George Fenwick said.

Up until now, scientists have recognized only the familiar “yellow” form of peep as a full species; but there is currently support in the ornithological community for granting separate species status to the blue, teal, pink and purple forms, currently considered color morphs. “There simply isn’t any evidence that these forms interbreed,” said ABC senior scientist Dr. David Wiedenfeld. “While they can often be found roosting in the same box, the fact is that nobody has ever seen an intermediate bird between the color morphs,” he added.

…During their breeding season, Peeps can easily be found in suburban backyard habitats, where they lay clutches of colorful eggs in nests of brightly-colored plastic grasses. Adult and immature peeps can be quickly located by their sweet calls and neon plumage.

Although Peeps are heavily consumed, their populations appear to quickly rebound in subsequent years and therefore they are not a species of conservation concern.

I don’t even eat Peeps, but I’d take this email any day over the one with the subject line that reads EXCELLENCE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY FOR SIR! And while the American Bird Conservatory isn’t a likely future source for my next feature article on workplace bullying, safety leadership or protective gloves, at least this email made me smile.

It also made me wonder: How often do you stumble on an unexpectedly useful (or, OK, entertaining) message floating in a sea of clutter? How do you cut through all the safety advice and information while retaining the most useful, relevant pieces? (Aside from reading EHS Today, of course.) Sound off in the comment section or send me an email at laura.walter@penton.com. I promise to respond … at least as soon as I vanquish these 306 unread emails. (Yes, nine more rolled in as I wrote this blog.)

Peeping Out from Behind the Clutter
EHS Today