In Praise of Spam
People are always complaining about unsolicited electronic messages—sometimes called spam by the unenlightened. A bill called the U.S. Safe Web Act of 2005 is wending its way through Congress, seeking to restrict ads, spyware, and fraudulent pitches from reaching people’s e-mail.
This is positively un-American. Those opposed to spam don’t know what they are missing. It’s like dead-bolting the door when opportunity knocks. Spam is our friend. It can make you healthy, wealthy, and sexually attractive. All I am saying is, Give spam a chance.
Let me share a small selection of spam offers culled from among the thousands that intrepidly defeated my company’s evil spam filters to reach my inbox:
Free Stuff: You can get lots of free (or nearly free) stuff from spam. Usually filling out a survey or testing a product is all it takes. People from “Promotions Gateway” promised me, “Test out this Flat Screen TV and keep it—with participation.” One spammer asked a question I know we all are thinking: “Tired of paying for airline tickets?” An organization calling itself “Therightplacefortherightstuff” said, “This is not a joke: FREE Gateway ® Laptop to Test & Keep.” (I'm glad it’s no joke, because I need one!) Someone called “Luxury Watche Overstock” alerted me, “We are giving away Rolexes—get yours now!” Another spammer said, “Win a dream wedding worth $50,000.” (Since I'm already married, I wonder if they’ll just let me keep the money.) The “Gift Claim Center” (not sure where the headquarters is) informed me, “You’ve been chosen for a Free $250 Gift Card.” I won’t even begin to list all the great items available from “Stuffpickermania News.”
Health and Fitness: I expect that life expectancies and general buffness will go up remarkably because of the many benefits of spam. “Slim Seduction” told me, “New Diet Pill Zaps Fat & Cellulite Cells Forever.” (I don’t know why my doctor never mentioned it—probably some sort of conspiracy.) “Cheat and Eat,” in a similar vein, informed me about a “Break Through weight loss product just released to the public.” Meanwhile, “Actiprill” suggests, “Increase your energy naturally.” (I wonder if they mean get more sleep?) “Lip Tech” asked, “Want sexy lips in 90 seconds?” (And who doesn’t?) “Lean Body Cleanse” helpfully said, “Try Colon Cleansing at Home!” (I didn’t know you could try it anywhere.) Then, “Jerome Herman” informed me, “Former President Bill Klinton uses Voagra!” (I guess if it’s good enough for Mr. Klinton . . . .) And “Attention Men,” perhaps following the trend of telling people they have to “perform” sexually, advised me, “Be a Champion in the Bedroom.” (I wonder if sex will ever be an Olympic sport?)
Interesting People: You also get to meet some of the world’s most fascinating folks via spam. Yes, I’ve actually received personal messages from Donald Trump, Oprah (no last name required here), and Steve Forbes, but there’s more. I’ve also heard from people named “Dazzled O. Prepay,” “Ms. Clarke” (an old elementary school teacher I had, perhaps?), “Betty Crock,” “Kaiser Hussey” (not sure if this is a man or a woman), and “Epiphany Tart” (definitely a woman). One spammer even said, “Meet me and my friends this weekend.” (And who couldn’t use more friends?)
Money and Careers: Spam is great way to make some extra cash. “Ted Hansson” is making me an offer I don’t know how to refuse: “Split the Profits 50/50 using my money.” (I don’t know why Ted is trying to cut me in on the action for free; maybe he owes me some money.) Meanwhile, “John Commuta” tantalizes me with the promise, “Transform Your Debt into Wealth.” (I guess to get really wealthy using his system, I should first go out and buy another house and a couple of cars.) “Driving4Dollars” gave me the following good news: “Get Paid to Drive Your Car!” Another spammer told me, “Hiring Today—many local opportunities.” (I know lots of people who have built successful careers using spam, don’t you?)
You can also get ringtones, loans, online education, horoscopes, free gym memberships, drugs of all kinds from the “Online Pharmacy Guide,” music downloads for your cell phone, and complimentary gift cards to places like Subway, Wal-Mart, and Ikea—all from humble spam.
You can even “Turn Your PC into a TV”! Of course, what I’d really like is for someone to turn my TV into a PC. Oh—never mind! I'm going to get that free laptop, remember?