In sending email, I routinely include a favorite saying or famous quotation in the message’s personal signature section, at the bottom of the page. Recipients often comment on the quotations, which I change from time to time, albeit irregularly because I tend to forget they need refreshing.
Recently, I sent an email requesting information from an out-of-town bank. Louise, the bank’s computer teller, called next day to give me the information.
“But first,” she said in a drawl dripping molasses, “tell me how you know my husband. I asked if he knows you and he doesn’t.”
“Your husband?” I said, puzzled. She was in Mississippi; I was in South Carolina.
“Yes. You quoted him in your email. I was amazed to see that.”
“Yes,” she said. “I’ve got it right here on my screen: ‘Fortune favors the bold’ — Virgil.”
The light bulb came on. “Oh,” I said. “That’s a quote from Virgil, the Roman writer.”
“Oh, then that’s not my Virgil,” she said. “I don’t think he’s ever been out of Mississippi.”