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  • ou•bli•etteˌu bliˈɛt(n.)
    1. a secret dungeon with an opening only in the ceiling.
    Origin of oubliette:
    1810–20; < F, MF, *
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    WIKIPEDIA
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    When I saw Tennessee Williams’ play, “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore,” I was captivated by the heroine, Flora Goforth, and how efficiently she coped with her life.
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    Event Source provides this summary of the plot:
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    “In this haunting Tennessee Williams drama, Olympia Dukakis stars as Flora Goforth, a wealthy American widow. In her picturesque Italian mountaintop home, Flora has detached from the world in order to write her memoirs. When a handsome and mysterious young visitor arrives without warning to keep Flora company in her final hours, this dreamlike play blossoms into a fascinating meditation on life and death.”
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    Always a great fan of Mr. Williams’ writing and wry observations, I was captivated by Flora Goforth’s strategy for dealing with difficult, unpleasant people, and by extension, problems.
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    Flora would simply put them in the “oubliette,” which in the play, was a remote cabana far away from the house, down on the beach. Down into oblivion they would go, removed and forgotten.
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    She simply exiled them. Why, after all, should she have to keep difficult people around?
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    I found her logic both impeccable and instructive, and reengineered her “oubliette” into my own figurative remote beach cabana, which first took the form of a manila file folder, and more recently, with the advent of Word, a special file into which all annoying, troublesome, tedious, nasty, obnoxious, threatening, carping, critical, snarky, mean-spirited, difficult, nauseating, confrontational, rude, and generally unpleasant communications are deposited.
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    In cases where I know that the writer of such missives is hostile and potentially abusive, I do not even bother to read what he/she has sent. Why bother? I would only be upset.
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    The sender of any such communications, if I am in the mood, gets back a minimal acknowledgment: “Thank you for sharing.”
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    If I am feeling especially playful, I sign the return message “Love.”
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    At such times, I often recall that cliff hanging scene in the movie “Air Force One,” where Harrison Ford’ in the role of the American President, throws the Russian terrorist out of the plane with the words:”GET OFF MY AIRPLANE!”
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    We need to draw boundaries. We need lines in the sand to protect our souls and our sanity. We need to quarantine chaos merchants, wierdos, sociopaths and psychic vampires.
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    All this came to mind this morning when I was talking with one of my business colleagues, and I mentioned Flora Goforth’s beach “cabana of forgetting,” and he confessed that he does the same thing. He said he has things from years back from difficult people, often unopened and nicely quarantined, which he takes a look at from time to time, and has a good laugh.
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    All of our new communication technologies provide ample opportunities to simply shut out and shut down unwanted or irksome messages. We can block senders, tag as spam, designate that messages from griefers are sent automatically into trash, or the proper “oubliette.”
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    We can, in effect, build cyber walls, dig cyber moats, and fill them with cyber alligators, so that we may enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
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    Emerson has these wise words for our peace of mind and protection:
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    “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely...”

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    (Photograph by Alex in the Grand Canyon, in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life)
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