I get a kick when I see the in-vogue e-mail closer “Best,“ (as in, “Dear So-and-So, Thanks for the info. Best, Mike.“)
Because this one-word phrase is used so readily, I’ve learned to tune it out. But I sometimes wonder what precise message it’s intended to convey to its recipient.
Here are a few possible meanings for “Best,” that are worth considering:
“YOU’RE the best.“ [Of all my friends/family/acquaintances/colleagues, YOU lead the list. Congratulations. Well done, top-shelf e-mail buddy.]
“I’M the best.“ [Let’s not beat around the bush, I’m pretty awesome. In fact, I believe I’m the penultimate e-pal and want to make sure we’re both clear on that point.]
“EVERYONE I meet is the best.” [Because I’m feeling extra generous, I hereby bestow “best” status on all of creation.]
“THIS MESSAGE is the best.” [Pay close attention to this virtual document, my fine friend, as it’s chock full of greatness.]
“I’m quite hip.” [The actual meaning of this word really doesn’t matter. What’s most important is that you are connected with someone who is downright hip and trendy – and communicates accordingly.]
“I wish you the best.” [OK, so this seems like the most likely meaning for the word. But is there a time period it’s intended to cover? Just the exact moment it’s read, or throughout an entire day? Or is it a wish with no expiration whatsoever? Really hard to know.]
I must admit I’m pretty impressed by the efficiency of a sign-off statement boiled down to a single word of four measly letters.
It’s even more efficient than my preferred one-word e-closer: “Thanks,” (or if I’m feeling extra cheeky, “Thx,“)
Now I’m starting to wonder what I’m thanking everyone for: Reading the message? Staying awake? Not bashing me with a snarky reply? Breathing?
Guess a little ambiguity never hurt anyone.