Who are Mailer-Daemon and why are they sending me e-mail? Or, why Ben Affleck confuses me

(Foreground)Mr. Mailer, left, explains to Mr.Daemon how to return e-mail to senders thus driving users insane.

Saturday evening a couple of friends and I decided to watch on TV the 2004 thriller “The Bourne Supremacy.” One of my friends made some remark about Harrison Ford playing Jack Ryan, the CIA officer character, in movies based on Tom Clancy’s novels. Keep with me, the two sentences are related.

I remarked at the time, erroneously I later realized, that the guy playing Jason Bourne in the movie we were watching and someone whose name I could not recall at that time (we had a few drinks earlier) also played Jack Ryan in “The Sum of All Fears.” Initially, I even thought “The Bourne Supremacy” was “The Sum of All Fears.” (See parenthetical remark above)I quickly realized, however, that the movie we were watching was “The Bourne Supremacy,” which I saw when it was first released.

As for “The Sum of All Fears,” I had not seen the movie in its entirety. I watched about the first 20 minutes of the film in a 99-cent movie theater in Waco, Texas, until the film broke and that was that. Later, I had seen most of the remaining parts of that movie.

By Sunday, I still could not remember the name of the actor playing Jason Bourne, not that the inability to recall his name consumed me all day. But the name returned in an instant last night while watching David Letterman, who was talking to his guest, Matt Damon. (forehead slap) I did a Google search this morning which led to my remembering that it was Ben Affleck who played Jack Ryan in “The Sum of All Fears.” I’m glad we have that settled.

So the obvious question is: “Is Matt Damon related to Mailer-Daemon?” Or, “To whom is that question obvious?” I thought about the name homonymity when an e-mail I sent out yesterday morning was returned and marked “Mailer-Daemon.” Oddly enough, I thought about Matt Damon’s name but didn’t think about it at the time that he was the actor whose name I could not remember for two days. So the obvious question is: “Have I lost my mind completely?”

I remember seeing a “Pearls Before Swine” comic strip in which Pig had struck up e-mail correspondence with a new pen pal. Apparently Pig had figured the new acquaintance must have really liked him because he had sent him so much e-mail. The strip’s Rat, asked Pig the name of his new friend and the clueless Pig answered: “Mailer-Daemon.”

So the obvious question is: “Who is Mailer-Daemon?” Perhaps more obvious a question than previous questions assumed to be obvious. Well, I did a quick search on the Internets (invented by Al Gore and made famous by Gee Dubya Bush) and found this explanation from Webopedia:

“Daemon. Pronounced DEE-mun or DAY-mun. A process that runs in the background and performs a specified operation at predefined times or in response to certain events … Typical daemon processes include print spoolers, e-mail handlers, and other programs that perform administrative tasks for the operating system. The term comes from Greek mythology, where daemons were guardian spirits.”

Mailer must come from the e-mail tasks for the OS. Maybe? Probably? It’s named in honor of Norman Mailer, who wrote “The Executioner’s Song” about Gary Gilmore? No, it can’t be.

Okay, then the obvious is question (give it a rest will you?) is: “If it a guardian spirit, why is it returning my e-mail undelivered?” And, “Why do I confuse Ben Affleck and Matt Daemon?

On the first obvious question, I have no answer. As for the second, it might be that Affleck and Daemon were best friends and co-wrote “Good Will Hunting.” It might be that or it might just be that I am a very confused person. Chances are the latter would be the obvious question. That is, if it was a question at all. Ohhh, I think I’m getting a headache.

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