Vol. 11, No. 2,553 - The American Reporter - January 5, 2005

Make My Day

by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
Syracuse, Indiana

SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Sometimes I curse the day I ever started using email. Oh sure, it makes communication with people around the world cheap, free, and easy. But the hassle of dealing with unwanted email - also known as spam - makes me want to put my foot through my computer screen.

Every morning, when I check my email, there are over 100 messages waiting for me. After my email filters chug through them all, I'm disappointed to find that only five of them are of any interest to me. In other words, only 5% of my email comes from people who actually like me enough to communicate with me.

This has wreaked havoc on my self-esteem.

The rest of the email is unwanted crap from people who have become rich by sending unwanted crap to people.

It's gotten to be such a problem that email spam filters can't keep up with all the junk that comes in. But I have to be careful about what I mention in this week's column, because chances are, a spam filter will block it from ever reaching my online readers.

I receive offers for medicine that will remove fungal growth from my toenails (they sell this stuff in stores already). I have been asked if I would like to buy a low-carb diet plan book for just $49.95 (I can get it for $6.95 at Wal-Mart). And I have even been asked if I would like to increase the size of my. . . personal area (don't expect me to comment on this!).

But email servers automatically get rid of these messages because there are so many of them. So the spammers have come up with a not-so-clever way to beat the email filters: they spell the words wrong.

They don't think, "Hmm, everyone seems to be tired of receiving these emails from me. I think I'll quit." Instead they think, "Wait, you mean people DON'T want to see my latest and greatest offer? You mean people actually hate me?! Maybe if I spell the words wrong, they'll like me again."

So instead of getting rid of fungus, I now have to worry about "fungs." Rather than going on a low-carb diet, I can go on a "low-crab" diet. And instead of enlarging myself, I can "engrail" myself with cheap "Varagra," "Vaigra," or "Vaagri."

I know spammers don't care if people hate them. They make enough money from the people who buy their product to make it worth the hassle. But why anyone would give their credit card to a guy who can't even spell the name of the product he's trying to sell?

If they're dumb enough to give private financial information to some stranger selling "Vargai" and "nialfungs" medicine via email, they deserve to get ripped off.

Don't forget the attempts to sell me life insurance, download ringtones for my cell phone, or even purchase a subscription to a service that will let me search for lyrics to my favorite song.

I figured out a tip which will also help put those lyric guys out of business: Go to Google.com, type in the title of your song in quotes, followed by the word "lyrics" and hit search. You'll find the song with all the lyrics, and it will be FREE. Take that, song lyrics spammers!

Let's not forget the obvious scams and attempts at theft either. From what I can tell, America is no longer the richest country in the world, it's Nigeria. Apparently, there have been so many oil deals, diamond deals, and weapons deals in Nigeria, that huge balls of money just roll down the streets like tumbleweeds, and they need my help get it out of the country. All I have to do is send them a copy of my signature, my bank account number, and a check for $1,000, and they'll give me half.

I've received phony requests from credit card companies, eBay, and PayPal, trying to trick me into giving them my credit card number and pin number. Last week, I even received an email from someone who obviously learned English as a second language, but tried to pass themselves off as the real credit card company in order to get my credit card information.

I wrote back to the sender, "Dear Thief, If you're going to try to steal from people, it's helpful to spell important words - like 'credit card' - correctly, otherwise people will recognize you for the cook you are."

This may open up a whole new realm of writing possibilities for me: spellchecker and copy editor to spammers and con artists.

All I need is their credit card number, their bank account number, a copy of their signature, and a $1,000 check.

Copyright 2005 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.