Sunday, October 22, 2006

Licking Envelopes - the Secret Truth

I always send self-sealing envelopes. I'm sure the agencies appreciate having them to send my rejections.

YES WE DO. Every time I see that self-sealing flap, my mind cries a little "Yes!" We certainly don't hold it against authors if they use traditional envelopes, but yes, I am licking them. And yes, I have diseases, and no, Herpes Simplex I is not an STD, it's something you get if you have a lowered immune system because you're on an immuno-suppressant (Damn you 6-MP!), stop looking at my cold sore, it's not what you think!

...But I digress. Germs and bacteria die when the envelope dries. I think you would have to eat the envelope within an hour of my licking it to actually pick up my cold, and to my knowledge, people are not in the habit of eating envelopes as much as just throwing them in the trash.

What we really despise is people who enclose an SASE from some stationary package, where the envelope is too small to fit the return letter unless we fold it up a million times. Don't do that.


Anonymous said...

At work, I had to seal a million (maybe less) envelopes a week so I bought one of those water bottles with a spongy top. I lick envelopes no more - just press, squeeze & slide. It works great!


Robin Bayne said...

A little piece of Scotch tape works even better.

Anonymous said...

I use a glue stick.

Simon Haynes said...

I just spit on the flaps and squeegee them shut.

Talia said...

hehe that was hilarious, altho I agree sellotape sounds a heck of a lot easier.

Anonymous said...

Actually, germs and bacteria don't die when the envelope dries. Not all (or even most) of them, anyway.
Unless you disinfect the envelope, or leave it exposed to direct sunlight for a bit, they can survive for quite some time.
For example, common kinds of Adenovirus, from the types which may very well be responsible for the occasional cold-like symptoms, can remain alive and well on an envelope for around 5 days.

The chance of anyone actually getting infected from the envelope is extremely minor, though. Just as you noted, people do tend not to eat them (Even those who love food that tastes like cardboard and paper). Nor to they usually rub their hands directly on the areas of the envelope you had to lick.

Anonymous said...

I have to weigh in on this. I bought a box of 50 self-sticking envelopes for my SASE's a while ago. Then one day, about a year after I'd bought the box, I used one for a letter. The flap came unstuck 10 minutes after I'd sealed it. I had to use a glue stick to keep it shut. So I do wonder about the shelf life of the glue on those self-sticking envelopes (especially as some editors can hold onto a manuscript and SASE for months at a time). I use the regular envelopes now.

It probably explains why one of my self-sealing SASE's came back to me empty. I like to think it was a contract that fell out of it, rather than a rejection letter.

Sarah Totton

Katie. said...

Hi, new here so if my question has been previously answered, I'm sorry.

I'm just wondering why you take 6-MP. I've been taking it myself for almost ten years now (for severe Crohn's Disease) and I always get perversely excited when I see someone else on immunosuppressants. More people for the immunely-challenged club.

Hope the question wasn't too intrusive.

Anonymous said...

don't lick them!! are you nuts?
I'm afraid for your health after reading that.
just take a little dish of water with a sponge in it and run it along the sponge.
or as julie rowe suggested, even better is a glue stick.
ew ew ew!!! please don't lick them any more.

Anonymous said...

I tape. Putting paper in my mouth at work just seems wrong. Those sponge bottles are cool, too. But yeah, there's nothing like a self-sealer. It's one of those small pleasures in life.

Julie said...

This post made me laugh out loud! I never lick envelopes. I'm allergic to the glue. At home, I use a glue stick. At work, I get my co-workers to lick them. Sometimes they even make faces and try to scrape off their tongues afterwards. But I recently found one of those spongy-topped bottles at the bottom of the supply cabinet, so it's probably not long before my game is up.

Anonymous said...

What are you allergic to in the glue. My co-worker asked me to lick the envelope for her today because she said she was "allergic to the wheat"????? What does mean? Please explain so that I don't think she is a loon.