Unanswered emails are a sure sign that you are not that important. It is a direct correlation to how much you matter in the world. If you mattered, people would get back to you tout de suite. (That’s French for “immediately” but even my impressive knowledge of French pales in comparison to those people who have the ability to get emails answered within seconds.) Unanswered emails are the passive aggressive way of establishing a power pecking order in modern society.

And goddamn, does it hurt like a mofo.

They know your email is in their box. You know your email is their box. And they know that you know that your email is in their box. And yet, they don’t give a rat’s ass that you know that they know. Sure, you could get all stalker-y about it and send another email about the first email but 1) that is crazy talk for crazy people and 2) you are only going to feel worse when they don’t answer the second email as well. So you suffer in silence (unless you send a third email about the first and second email, which means you have just crash-landed in Crazyville, population you).

Please know this: When you don’t get a response from an email that means that you don’t f*#king matter. It is as clear as if someone walked up to you, spat in your bowl of gazpacho, and then whispered in your ear, “It would be so much nicer if you were dead.” It is that painfully apparent. And if you want proof all you need to do is click onto your sent box in your email and check out the date you sent the email that went unanswered. If it’s past three days and there is still no response, know that in the other person’s mind, you suck.

Now with everyone owning a smart phone there can be no more, “I wasn’t at my computer so I totally missed your email. Sorry!” Emails are no longer missed. Everyone checks his or her smart phones every seven seconds. I just checked my email as I wrote this sentence. So the excuse of missing an email is no longer viable. It just means you are being ignored all the more.

It doesn’t even have to be an important, business email. A simple, innocuous email to a family member that goes unanswered still hurts. Sure, your family may love you, they may care about you and may only want the best for you, but if your email goes unanswered then you definitely know that you are the low man on your family totem pole. Cousin Mikey may have a gambling problem and still gets inappropriately trashed at Christmas, but you can bet that if his emails are getting answered in a timely matter by the rest of your family then they think more highly of him than you.

We all want to feel special. We all want to feel that what we do in life has value. Well, an unanswered email takes those sentiments and kicks them right in the nuts with steel-toed s**t-kickers. It is an emotional karate chop to the core of who you really are. It gets right to the heart of your deepest insecurities and validates them with a simple, “Yeah, this confirms what you feared the most about yourself. Enjoy.” That, my friends, is true pain.

I once had to have a three-inch sliver of wood cut out of the sole of my foot. I once had to have a boil drained from my ear. I even once had a vasectomy. (I guess you can really only have a vasectomy once but you get my point.) All of that pain combined and sprinkled with a dusting of smashing your pinky finger in the refrigerator door are nothing compared to the unanswered email. It is a pain that gnaws at you. It is a pain that lingers. It is a pain that reminds you of who you really are and where you fit in in life.

And that hurts. Jesus Christ, does that hurt.