It's not necessary, but you do so for the same reason that some others choose to scale a mountain: because it's there.
What could be so monumental that Charles Bermant, whoever that is, would invoke legendary alpinist George Mallory's famed explanation for climbing Mt. Everest as an analogy? Why, checking your email of course. Just when you thought the world may have reached an apex in the use of absurd metaphors when Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour compared Hurricane Katrina to the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, along comes Charles-Special-to-the-Times-Bermant. Checking email is like climbing the world's tallest mountain. Really? Are you sure about that?
Bermant's article in today's Seattle Times is a rebuttal to a previous article about Internet addiction. It's a nice short article, but sounds more like a desperate attempt at explaining his own behavior -- checking email daily while on vacation -- than anything else. But the Mallory reference? Argggh...
I mean, sure, it is there. Yes, it is. But then so are a lot of things. Is my turning on SportsCenter whever I walk through the living room just like climbing a mountain? It's not that I need to see the Mariners' highlights every 2 hours it's just that, well, the tv is there. Or what about petting my dogs? I do that whenever I cross paths with one of them throughout the day. Is that just like climbing a mountain. Afterall, I woudn't pet them if they they weren't there.
Or maybe I'm just making a mountain out of an inbox? Probably, but it's the same thing with the phrase surfing the Internet. I hate that phrase. It's ridiculous. Absurd. And hopelessly contrived. Nobody who has ever gone surfing -- really surfing -- would say that what they do with the Internet is similar. One doesn't surf pages of HTML, they skim, browse, read, and peruse them. Surfing requires skill and athleticism. Watching YouTube does not. Climbing Everest requires determination, endurance, and stamina. Reading the forwarded chain letters from every ass-clown who knows your email address does not.
On second thought... seeing a list of emails from family members does have a certain Death Zone feel to it. Maybe Bermant was on to something afterall. Either that or my parents have his email address.