Friday, October 12, 2007

"Nokomarie, Grow Your Penis!"

Whenever I get an email that starts, "Nokomarie, grow your penis safely and naturally!" it gives me pause.

I understand this email is intended for men and isn't suggesting "Nature's Path to Hermaphrodism." Still, for the briefest of moments, I think, "Really? How?"

I probably see more spam than most people. I use a very old-fashioned text-based email program: Pine. I love Pine. I can look at and delete tons of messages in less than a second with the "d" key -- no clicking required. Each message loads instantly. There is zero risk of getting your computer infected with a virus because all that's coming through is text, text, text.

OK, it's not great for attachments. I admit it. And there's no images. I can't click on any links . . . it's true. It's just those 26 letters and me. But the simplicity of that kind of knocks me out.

All this means I often scroll through and delete rather than deleting the messages right from the inbox. So I see a lot of spam.

It's always funny to see it while you're working. There you are reading some important internal memo about the creation of a new department offering a new Masters Degree in Socially Responsible and Innovative Leadership (names have been changed to protect, well, me, but this is not far from the truth). And you click "Save" for that one and the next one pops up and screams, "ERECTILE!" Always makes my day a little brighter.

Also it's nice to know there are so many things that men and women share when it comes to spam. I remember reading somewhere that spam was like the collective unconscious of the entire culture. . . it's what we're all thinking about and emoting about on the inside while we talk about other things. Spam is about our deepest and scariest hopes, dreams, and unmentioned desires.

And except for penis- and breast-enlargement, spam is pretty unisex. Make millions from Nigerian warlords. Refinance your mortgage. Lose unwanted kilos! (Isn't it weird they neither use the right units nor spell check? How much better would phishing work if you weren't being asked to "please now to type your PIN code into the CItybank page.")

With respect to the big things -- old age, death, money, sex -- men and women, we're all in this together.

There is, though, one real outlier here, and that is: software spam. Software? There you are being promised everlasting youth, riches, beauty, sex, and . . . free OEM software?

Uh, thanks, but maybe some other time. Right now I'm busy imagining how my new penis is going to work when when my Nigerian wealth lets me take my Russian bride to my timeshare in Florida. Will its size satisfy her? Or will I need to bring some Vi@gra?

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