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Son's e-Birthday Card to Dad Brings Bitterness, Rejection

(Chicago, IL) All Stephen Upshaw wanted to do was take a "tiny step" toward rebuilding his relationship with his estranged father, Mark.

"It had been a few years since we spoke, and I know that he is still pissed about the $10 grand I heisted from his ATM back when I was a raving coke fiend," said the younger Upshaw. "So I sent one of those e-greetings on his birthday. Nothing special, you know, just a little trial balloon."

Upshaw received an immediate response in his Outlook Inbox:

Your server has unexpectedly terminated the connection. Possible causes for this include server problems, network problems, or a long period of inactivity. Account. account name, Server: 'server name', Protocol: POP3, Server Response: '+OK', Port: 110, Secure(SSL): Error Number: 0x800ccc0f
"I'm thinking, is this some kind of weird game he's playing?" Upshaw recalled. "I mean, if you don't want contact, that's fine, but be man enough to say so. Or write so, that is."

The next step, said Upshaw, was to use his Yahoo email account for the e-greeting. He received yet another cryptic message:
Computer Support - The host 'mail.gmail.com' could not be found. Please verify that you have entered the server name correctly. Account: 'Yahoo! 360 Broadband Mail', Server: 'mail.gmail.com', Protocol: SMTP, Port: 25, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 11004, Er
"So I'm thinking: You son-of-a-bitch," Upshaw said, digging his fingernails into the arm of his chair. "All I'm doing is sending you a fucking email, and you are back to your head games. I mean, all those years I took it - took it - when he called me names like "shit-for-brains" and "dumb ass" and "my idiot kid," even looking up to him while he did it, and he's got the fucking arogance to pull this kind of bullshit."

The "last fucking straw," according to Upshaw, followed his final attempt to send the e-greeting using a proxy email account, which brought the following response:
--- The transcript of the session follows ---
... while talking to f1n7.sp2net.gsnops.com.:
>>> RCPT To:
<<< 550 ... user unknown
550 ... user unknown
"User unknown? User unknown?!?!? I'm his goddamn son!" roared Upshaw, slamming the lid to his laptop in disgust. "Fuck you, old man. We are through."

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