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Automatic Reply

Automatic Reply: “I’m here to amaze you”

Maria Hollenhorst Aug 13, 2019
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A Humpback whale jumps in the surface of the Pacific Ocean in July, 2013.
AFP PHOTO/Luis ROBAYO

Automatic Reply celebrates the pithy, surprising or otherwise amusing out-of-office email messages pinging around workplaces.


Jim Rispin is the director of information technology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. This is the out-of-office message he set up while traveling for work last fall:

IT professional Jim Rispin sporting a “SuperCuts hair style”

Sorry, friend, I’m almost entirely unavailable for your needs, important as they may be. There’s only so much joy you can experience surrounded by other IT professionals — sometimes you have to open yourself up to the world and say “Hey! Check out my nondescript khakis and SuperCuts hairstyle. I am here to amaze you!”

You guessed it. I’m traveling.

As such, Wednesday will be spent mostly in a tin tube, hurtling through the sky at 500mph, breathing someone else’s used air, and passive-aggressively fighting over an armrest (we travelers in the know refer to is as armrestling). With any luck, I’ll land in the same state as my intended destination, although you take nothing for granted these days, and will then be stationed on conference patrol until Friday. WiFi permitting, I will be responding to email whilst I am away, but don’t assume yours will be at the top of my list. To hit the #1 spot in my inbox, you’ll need to be:

a) Brief b) Funny c) Not spam d) Not Jason e) Not written in Comic Sans

If you desperately need more attention during my sojourn, then reach out to the good people of tech support. They can listen to your plight and play soothing whale music to ease your distress until my return.

It’s your turn. If you’ve ever received an out-of-office email message you found amusing, tell us about it here:

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