In the prevailing
political climate, spam e-mail is considered only slightly less sinister
than kiddy porn. But I like it. Spam, that is.
It may seem heretical
given the tsunami of outrage crashing down on bulk e-mailers from
consumers, corporations and lawmakers, but I've had worse uninvited guests
than spam, and at least a few amuse me.
vying to lengthen my genitals, shrink my debt and inflame my loins arrive
in various guises. Some go by boringly obvious names, like Porn King. But
I've had one from Osama Suddam.
Isn't he in my hockey pool? And Dylan Bobby, who has offered to refinance my
home, also sounds strangely familiar.
But I enjoy the ones
with bizarre monikers most. Recently arrivals have included Santiago
Pickett, Babington Bayola and Alba Crooks. I'm
convinced the ghost of Charles Dickens is floating around in Spamland. Guess from which mind -- novelist or spammer
-- these handles sprang: Chauncey Edmonds, Esther Summerson,
Thomas Gradgrind, Lotoya
Crepeau, Caddy Jellyby,
Wallace Crawley, Tamara Santiago, William Guppy, Fatima Hovis,
Ulysses Bermudez, Monsieur Heretofore and Alexa Clutterbucks. Answer: Edmonds, Crepeau,
Crawley, Santiago, Hovis, Bermudez and Clutterbucks are all spam.
There's a Web site
called notbbc.com with a "Great Made-Up Spam Names Of Our Time"
forum. A typical posting: "Vintage day for names today -- in the last
hour I've had the following: Dorice Kilgore,
Gwendolyn Harrington, Omar Lugo, Hans Hopkins, Vito Gomez." Another,
obviously savouring the sound of Oralia Wisinski, simply
concluded: "God bless spam."
Spam is also useful
because it requires you to distinguish it from the real meat -- the e-mails
you want to read. Even Canadian Internet expert Rick Broadhead
doesn't always get it right: "I don't have a spam filter," says Broadhead, who has written 32 Internet-related books.
"I highlight them all -- usually they're all together -- and hit
delete. But sometimes I have to open one or two of them." He pauses,
then adds, "Here's one: 'I found it.' I wasn't sure. Found what? What
the heck's that about?" So he opened it. "A kind of grin crosses
my face whenever I get caught because anytime I open an e-mail and it's
spam, I feel, 'They got me.' It's an art form."
Here's another good
thing about spam: People get a lot of stuff for free, so what's a little
inconvenience? Plus, the spam backlash is a witchhunt
in which politicians scramble to condemn the wrongdoers with penalties more
suited to the war on terror. And why don't we squirt the same venom at
companies bombarding our real mailboxes with unsolicited paper ads?
Karl Mamer, a Canadian who used to write a newspaper column
called CyberSpace, proves you can hate spam yet
enjoy it. He is one of many who have scammed the spammers. The results are
on the Web site www.yrad.com/
with a Nigerian Bank Scammer" is the title of his hilarious exchange
with Marco, a perpetrator of the now-familiar dodge that starts by
requesting help moving a fortune out of an African country in exchange for
Mamer responds that the offer to
make 10% of $23.7-million is fortuitous, since he just happens to need seed
money for a "free-range pitbull farm."
Then follow a series of rambling missives full of nonsense from Mamer in response to Marco's error-ridden e-mails
apparently originating in South Africa. Marco finally abandons his
correspondence after Mamer accuses Marco of being
part of a religious conspiracy involving a universal language "like Espresseronto."
Just think --all that
fun borne of a single e-mail. Unsolicited, under attack, undervalued. Spam.