Wham, Spam, Thank You, Ma'am
Some people will tell you that Spam, those unsolicited e-mails from hither and yon, is annoying, if not downright pernicious. Not me.
How can you complain about a missive titled, “Talk to Me, Foreigner”? Or “Click Here or Cats are Gonna Die”? Boy, did they ever have the wrong address. Another recent one promised to make me, and I quote, an “Expret” at lovemaking. “Sing” me up.
Maybe I like Spam because as a freelance writer I work for myself, all alone at my solitary computer in the spare bedroom. There is no water cooler or cafeteria, nary a colleague to gossip or conspire with, and incoming e-mails – whether personal, business or otherwise – are few and far between.
Most of my inbox communications start something like this, “We regret to inform you that we won’t be using the article you submitted, or, for that matter, any others you may hazard to write in the foreseeable future…”
The bottom line is that in the electronic sphere you reap what your send. And unfortunately, spending hours firing off personal e-mails to friends, relatives, coworkers and acquaintances to avoid work loses its appeal when you are your own boss. I have, however, toyed with the idea of forming my own Human Resources Department, so I could send myself densely worded policy pronouncements on my abuse of personal time, napping before lunch or missing that mandatory team-building trip to the sumo-wrestling academy.
Yes, I love my Spam the way old people in the park love pigeons. Some days it’s all I have. My Spam box is hardly ever empty. They, whoever “they” may be, must believe that I’m going to give up the popcorn sooner or later. In the meantime, I get to savor each convoluted, incoherent, quasi-English phrase before hitting the delete key.
Some, of course, are better than others. I yearn to know the person who penned this evocative line: “Write Me Some Words.” Before the info-tech, security side of my brain intervened, I was about to reply, “sure, spatula, picayune, bon vivant, polymath, bas relief, dibble-dabble, ciao, baby.”
Sometimes they treat little old me like I’m a great figure astride the world stage, some megalomaniacal leader of an outlaw south Asian nation: “Dave, You are The Dear One.” Who needs to click to get anything more after reading that? Or they want my advice: “Point Me Mistakes, Please.” Sure, mate, right after I tie me kangaroos down.
Without these random communications from the electronic ether I don’t know how I would make it through the day. My subscription to the now defunct Weekly World News used to do the trick. The supermarket tabloid ran stories on topics like seeing-eye ducks (“the best thing about them is they don’t chase cats”) and published exclusives such as “Sasquatch Names Palin to Ticket.” (Before getting your partisan bloomers in a knot, it turns out that the big lug opted for the intentionally hilarious Palin, Michael of Monty Python fame.)
As a writer myself, I know what my fellow scribes are going through. Sometimes you just hit the wall. Whoever sent me this sure must have hit on something, “Map, my office pointed.” Actually, I was tempted to click to see where this cryptic communication was heading. This live one just in: “[News] 49 Dollar LSAT, GMAT, GRE, Live Class.” That most definitely was not news to me.
One day I would like to meet these great communicators face to face, perhaps at a Spam Convention somewhere in Indonesia. Sometimes names are included on the e-mails but they appear to be nom de plumes – like Domenica Molands, which sounds like something W.C. Fields would come up with.
Of course, you can always make an educated guess at authorship. I narrowed down “I Can’t Live Without You” to my Volvo mechanic.
On occasion, I have considered forwarding suspicious e-mails to Homeland Security. Take this one, for example: “44 Explosive Foreplay Techniques.” Leave it to the people who hate our freedom to come up with this despicable concept, the suicide lover.