Saturday, April 23, 2005

Can the Spam!

I opened up my e-mail today and spent the first five minutes deleting all the spam it contained.

First on the list was e-mail from – over two million condoms snipped. Interesting, I thought. Why would anyone want a “snipped” condom, even if it is free?

As I did a double take, and looked for my glasses, I realized the advertisement had used poor judgment in fonts. It actually read, “Over two million condoms shipped.” I suppose it is more comforting to know they were shipped instead of snipped.

Next came two e-mails from different sources guaranteeing to enlarge my penis by 2 ½ inches. That is certainly quite a trick considering I don’t have one. Despite the fact that we’re in the age of “Sex & The City,” my girlfriends and I never even privately discuss enlargement options for our significant other, much less solicit information about it on the Internet. (Although we do occasionally bring up topics that pertain to a future nip, tuck or suck. -- hey, hey, we were talking liposuction!)

I have never in my life visited a pornographic website and I’ve definitely never requested information on how to enlarge an appendage I don’t have. In fact, I don’t personally know anyone who needs penis enlargement, but then I’ve led a sheltered life.

Even as I write this article I hear my computer signaling with the frequency of a Las Vegas slot machine that new mail is arriving.

Ding! I may have won a trip to Canyon Ranch Spa.
Ding! Buy a house while rates are still low.
Ding! Receive a free Glucose Meter.
Ding! Get relief from heartburn
Ding! Five chances to win up to $25 million dollars!
Ding! Click to see pictures of beautiful singles in my area that are looking for Love & Romance?
Ding! Receive free respiratory medication
Ding! Honest Home Business FREE!
Ding! Debt pushing you into a corner? Don’t run! We’ll help.
Ding! Oh look! More free condoms!

Penis enlargement and free condoms are not exactly the subject material I ever considered for an article, but this is getting crazy! In another couple of years I will be able to get a french manicure and a bikini wax in the amount of time it will take me to delete and block all the spam in my in-box. The problem is that no matter how many I block, they seem to reproduce like bunnies, and my in-box runneth over.

Considering my non-confrontational personality and my desire to be more aggressive, at this point I might be compelled to respond to an e-mail that provides a money-back guarantee to help me develop some balls. Especially if it gives me the courage to become an activist in the fight against spam.

I’m certain the only way I’ll ever have balls, however, is if a friend of mine, Credit Manager for the company where I once worked, wills hers to me. She displayed a beautiful brass pair on her desk before things like that became politically incorrect. By the time she removed them, it didn’t matter anyway. Customers with bad credit were convinced she had real ones.

How is it that with today’s technology they have developed a bath scale designed to store, recall, and display weight history and body fat for up to four users during any selected date or time period up to 2 years, while displaying time, date, and room temperature, BUT they still can’t keep all the spam out of my in-box?

Okay, maybe that wasn’t a good comparison. But, an article in Digital Living Today recently discussed home automation schemes that use the electrical wiring in your house as a ready-made communications network. Our appliances could talk to each other!

Here are a few examples they cited: “the alarm clock in your bedroom can alert the coffee maker in the kitchen that you've finally stopped whacking the snooze button and are actually ready for your morning caffeine IV drip to start. Or the bread machine can pop up an alert on the computer in the den to tell you that your Onion Cheese bread is ready and waiting to be slathered with butter while it's still hot. Or the bathroom scale can feed its data into your health and exercise software on your PC (and perhaps pop up notices telling you to lay off all the homemade bread).”

My point is, if we are at a stage where technology allows our appliances to talk to each other, why can’t they teach my computer to halt spammers at the portal entry with a polite notification, “My owner doesn’t have a penis/heartburn/respiratory problems/diabetes/credit problems. Now go away!” Is that too much to ask?

I understand that there are programs available to block spam, but I am indignant to think I should have to pay out the wazoo for such service. I pay enough each year just for virus protection…shipped, not snipped.

While I sometimes think our government is over-legislating, this is one time I am ready for them to step in like Marshall Dillon for a showdown. My favorite proposal before Congress is "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act,” introduced in the Senate in April by Senators Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). It hopes to regulate unsolicited commercial e-mail or spam and is fondly known as the CAN-SPAM bill. Don’t you just love those witty acronyms?

In the meantime I will continue blocking all the spam that comes my way, one e-mail after another. Oh! Wait! I have an e-mail just in from Luciano Beach! He wants to “add an average couple of inches” to that thing I don’t have! He “guarantees genuine lasting results”! Really, Luciano?

I wistfully think back to a time when the only SPAM I tried to avoid was served up for lunch by my Aunt Martha Lou and came out of a blue metal container. Sometimes she’d let me keep the little metal key that came attached to the bottom of the can, used to facilitate opening it. At least she didn’t pile up two dozen servings at a time on my plate, unlike the amount of spam I see each time I visit my in-box.

I have two fears in writing this article. First, I’m terrified that in years to come anyone who types penis enlargement into their search engine will come up with an article bearing my name. Second, and even worse now that I think of it, is the fear my mother discovers I’ve written an article containing the word “penis.” I’m too old to have my mouth washed out with soap, right?

Hmmm...I wonder if mother still uses Ivory?

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