Meet the king of e-mail sarcasm

David Thorne. (Supplied photo)

David Thorne. (Supplied photo)

THANE BURNETT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:25 PM ET

If David Thorne ever replies to your email, chances are, you’d just want to give him a good swift kick in the semicolon.

In the dominion of social networking and electronic communication, Thorne has become the king of biting sarcasm.

His followers are growing almost as fast as the smart-alecky mockery of mundane emails he routinely posts online.

His most famous lampooning has been an offer to pay an outstanding debt with a drawing of a smiling spider with seven legs.

His back and forth banter with a frustrated debt collector — an email exchange which went viral — began with his reply: “Dear Jane, I do not have any money, so am sending you this drawing I did of a spider instead. I value the drawing at $233.95 so trust that this settles the matter.”

When she emailed him back to say the smiling spider drawing wouldn’t do, Thorne insisted she email the cut and pasted work of art back to him, then argued with her that the one he originally sent had all eight legs, and not just seven.

The drawing was then auctioned off on eBay, and sold off for US$10,000, though the bidder never intended to pay — which Thorne agrees is a pretty funny outcome.

In an emailed interview with Sun Media — where he lets us off easy — Thorne explains of his key-stroke lampooning: “I learnt fairly early that sarcasm is best kept to a minimum when in the presence of people that can hit you.

“Being sarcastic electronically is like writing in a shark cage.”

If sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, then 37-year-old Thorne — a dad of one who works for a product design and branding company in Australia — has dug up rich veins of comic gold.

One exchange with someone at his local gym, reminding him his yearly membership fees are due, ends with the outraged fitness instructor swearing at Thorne, then in bold letters telling the wisecracker: “DO NOT EMAIL ME AGAIN.”

“Ok,” Thorne replies.

“Is that you being a smartarse or agreeing not to email me again?” the gym man responds.

“The middle one,” Thorne answers.

After the spider web email thread hit the web, his website, 27bslash6.com, shut down under the weight of so much traffic.

On the popularity, he explains to us: “The content on the site purposely has no point and I have found that this pointlessness seems to be its main appeal. I think people just need moments of pointless humour in their lives as distractions.

“When you are selling your soul nine to five and you receive an email that amuses you, there is the tendency to welcome the distraction.”

He’s now collected up so much material, he’s turned much of the material into a new book. It’s called — to no surprise — The Internet is a Playground.

An example of Thorne's sarcasm

Pity the poor person who emails lampooning funnyman David Thorne. Recently, the management of his apartment building sent him a notice, that there had been complaints about a dog in his suite.

Here is the string of responses which followed.

From: David Thorne

Date: Thursday 21 May 2009 10.16am

To: Helen Bailey

Subject: Pets in the building

Dear Helen,

Thank you for your letter concerning pets in my apartment. I understand that having dogs in the apartment is a violation of the agreement due to the comfort and wellbeing of my neighbours and I am currently soundproofing my apartment with egg cartons as I realise my dogs can cause quite a bit of noise. Especially during feeding time when I release live rabbits.

Regards, David.

From: Helen Bailey

Date: Thursday 21 May 2009 11.18am

To: David Thorne

Subject: Re: Pets in the building

Hello David

I have received your email and wish to remind you that the strata agreement states that no animals are allowed in the building regardless of if your apartment is soundproof. How many dogs do you have at the premises?

Helen

From: David Thorne

Date: Thursday 21 May 2009 1.52pm

To: Helen Bailey

Subject: Re: Re: Pets in the building

Dear Helen,

Currently I only have eight dogs but one is expecting puppies and I am very excited by this. I am hoping for a litter of at least ten as this is the number required to participate in dog sled racing.

I have read every Jack London novel in preparation and have constructed my own sled from timber I borrowed from the construction site across the road during the night. I have devised a plan which I feel will ensure me taking first place in the next national dog sled championships.

For the first year of the puppies life I intend to say the word mush then chase them violently around the apartment while yelling and hitting saucepan lids together. I have estimated that the soundproofing of my apartment should block out at least sixty percent of the noise and the dogs will learn to associate the word mush with great fear so when I yell it on race day, the panic and released adrenaline will spur them on to being winners.

I am so confident of this being a foolproof plan that I intend to sell all my furniture the day before the race and bet the proceeds on coming first place.

Regards, David.

From: Helen Bailey

Date: Friday 22 May 2009 9.43am

To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Pets in the building

David, I am unsure what to make of your email. Do you have pets in the apartment or not?

Helen

From: David Thorne

Date: Friday 22 May 2009 11.27am

To: Helen Bailey

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pets in the building

Dear Helen,

No. I have a goldfish but due to the air conditioner in my apartment being stuck on a constant two degrees celcius, the water in its bowl is iced over and he has not moved for a while so I do not think he is capable of disturbing the neighbours.

The ducks in the bathroom are not mine. The noise which my neighbours possibly mistook for a dog in the apartment is just the looping tape I have of dogs barking which I play at high volume while I am at work to deter potential burglars from breaking in and stealing my tupperware. I need it to keep food fresh.

Once I ate leftover chinese that had been kept in an unsealed container and I experienced complete awareness. The next night I tried eating it again but only experienced chest pains and diarrhoea.

Regards, David.

From: Helen Bailey

Date: Friday 22 May 2009 1.46pm

To: David Thorne

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pets in the building

Hello David

You cannot play sounds of dogs or any noise at a volume that disturbs others. I am sure you can appreciate that these rules are for the benefit of all residents of the building. Fish are fine. You cannot have ducks in the apartment though. If it was small birds that would be ok.

Helen

From: David Thorne


Date: Friday 22 May 2009 2.18pm


To: Helen Bailey


Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pets in the building

Dear Helen,

They are very small ducks.

Regards, David.

From: Helen Bailey


Date: Friday 22 May 2009 4.06pm


To: David Thorne


Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pets in the building

David, under section 4 of the strata residency agreement it states that you cannot have pets. You agreed to these rules when you signed the forms.

These rules are set out to benefit everyone in the building including yourself. Do you have a telephone number I can call you on to discuss?

Helen

From: David Thorne


Date: Friday 22 May 2009 5.02pm


To: Helen Bailey


Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pets in the building

Dear Helen,

The ducks will no doubt be flying south for the winter soon so it will not be an issue. It is probably for the best as they are not getting along very well with my seventeen cats anyway.

Regards, David.

From: Helen Bailey


Date: Monday 25 May 2009 9.22am


To: David Thorne


Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pets in the building

David, I am just going to write on the forms that we have investigated and you do not have any pets.

Helen


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