Wednesday, September 24, 2008
For The Love Of Spam
It's ubiquitous, it's unsolicited, it's sometimes unintelligible...and it's probably in your in-box right this minute. Yup, it's spam. Everyone, but everyone, hates spam, right? Well, not your humble RVing correspondent. I don't hate spam. Granted, no one wants to wake up in the morning and sit down at the computer with a yummy beverage and see 47 unread messages, 200 of which are spam. No one enjoys that. Not even me. And of course I appreciate that my server seems to have some uber-sixth-sense about all the mortgage companies, online dating services and Uzbekistan pharmacies that are trying to get my attention and hides their correspondence from my view in a folder I never open, appropriately titled "Spam". But some solicitations get through, and I don't mind. The reason I don't mind is that the ones that make it past whatever barriers my server has set up (I like to picture a line of vigilant virtual George-Clooneys-as-James-Bond types that wrestle the offending missive to the ground, shoot it with one hand while mixing me a a cocktail with the other all the while telling me how much sexier I am since I got fat, but I digress...)...Wow...where was I? Oh yes...the spam that gets through (thanks Georgie...you don't mind if I call you Georgie do you?) often defies all human explanation and amuse me greatly and allow me to waste even more time on the internet each day.
Let's see. One day I got one for "Hurry! Cheap Carl Insurance!". This gave me pause. Really? Carl insurance? I racked my brain to think if I even knew anyone named Carl and realized I didn't and therefore had no need for this service. Just before I hit "delete" I thought, uh oh, what if I'm friends with someone on myspace or facebook named Carl? Because, like the word "spam", the word "friends" in the virtual world has a different meaning than it does in the real world. I have 210 friends on myspace. In real life I have 7. Nevertheless, I gambled against getting Carl insurance and moved on the next message, which told me, in no uncertain terms that I could "Train To Be A Nurse Online!" Well, I reasoned, I have been thinking about changing careers. Nursing is a stable and honorable profession, albeit not one I had ever considered myself well suited for. This is mainly because every time I wear white I get food all over it and I end up looking like a used dinner napkin. But... to think I could become an RN (real nurse!) without ever getting dressed or leaving the RV park! Willikers! I love 2008! However, eventually I deleted this one too, because my friend Donna is a nurse and she says it's murder on the feet. Donna is dedicated. She spent years studying around the clock and sacrificed all her time and social activities so she could go through nurse and specialist training. She's a really intelligent girl so I don't know why she didn't just peruse her spam folder before she went through all that time and trouble. I'm sure she would have gotten the same results from "Nursing School", the kind institution who sent me this sterling offer. I won't tell her if you won't.
Later, I can't tell you exactly when, the spam started to go from ridiculous to sublime when, one bright morning, I got an e-mail from "Nanette" and it was entitled "Butterfat". I've worked in marketing. I know the first rule is to get people's attention but who on earth is going to open an e-mail with a title like that? No one, not even me, is curious about such a thing. I studied the closed e-mail for a long moment. Delete. Do you really want to delete Butterfat? Yeah, I really do.
My like affair with spam took an ugly turn this year. One lovely fall day I opened my "extra" e-mail account (the yahoo account we all use when we don't want to give out our "real" e-mail address) and I had 79 messages advertising various pornographies. I didn't even know there were 79 pornographies. I have always been under the impression there were 14. Thirty-seven if you lived in Los Angeles. Then I saw where the extra ones came from: celebrity porn. "Want to see Britney with a donkey?" one asked. "No," I said out loud. "Petting zoos would never be the same for me." Delete. Delete. Do you really want to delete "Pam Anderson's late night with Stephen Hawking"? Oh, I really, really do and he should too. Even quantum physics are not going to hold those breasts up forever. Delete. "See Paris in the Nude". I remember when that would have meant taking your clothes off and running down the Champs Elysees. Why, I thought, did George let this vapid vulgarity get through? Is he trying to tell me something? Has our relationship gone stale? Is he seeing someone else's spam and neglecting mine? Now I'm mad. How could he. Well, I'll show him. I'll close this account. Right now. Do you really want to close Nurse_Butterfat@yahoo.com? Yes...I really do.