I really think emails (and texts, for that matter) should come with a grace period – 5 or 10 minutes during which you have the option of retrieving your message before it goes to the intended recipient. A communications idiot-proofing, if you will.
Whenever I send an email submitting to a magazine or entering a writing competition, I always, always have a last-minute sense of panic – is it good enough? Should I be doing this? Should I send something else, or nothing at all? Am I attaching my shopping list by mistake? This is followed by a rush of adrenaline, during which my brain goes, “Oh, to hell with it, what have you got to lose?” and off it goes. Then I think, oh, but I forgot to add/change/delete…
With a grace period, you could calmly claim your piece back, change that one tiny thing that would otherwise keep you awake all night and not look like an idiot who can’t read submission guidelines. And wouldn’t that make the world a better place?
There’s a similar argument to be made for answering machine messages: