by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
February 1, 2007
BEWARE THE BANDERSNATCH: LIVING IN THE AGE OF SPAM
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- Beware the human need to get something for nothing. You'll end up with nothing and the con artist will chuckle malevolently while skipping to the bank with your something.
We all have it - that child-like need to believe in
Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny. The
need to think that any minute now, our ship is going to come
in - with little or no effort by us - and with some winged
pilot at the wheel.
Since my e-mail address has been posted at the American Reporter, a national site, I've gotten delightful letters of encouragement, letters from vulgar fruitcakes, and letters that think my Mama raised a bunch of fools and I am the biggest one.
I am neither na´ve nor gullible but I do believe in daily miracles. However, said miracles do not smell of scam, most are free, and miracles rarely, if ever, come galloping in over the Internet highway.
A miracle is being able to watch the sun rise and set ... again.
A con is somebody trying to sell you a piece of that sun.
A miracle is getting to play our own way because we have paid our own way.
A con is a charming, almost-believable attempt to convince us we ought to share the fruits of our labor with every blood-sucking con artist who is allergic to honest work. Government is the biggest example of con-by-force.
A miracle is discovering honey and apple cider vinegar will prevent a great deal of our physical woes.
An unexamined con is the traditional medical profession telling us that's a bunch of pigwash.
A miracle is a Muslim hugging a Jew and a Christian and declaring "It's all right. We'll share Abraham with you. When can you come for tea?"
A con is a Christian who believes in the Golden Rule and hates abortion but supports politicians who want the death penalty.
A miracle is a woman who wrests her personal power out of the hands of confused men who can't understand why she doesn't appreciate a back seat in the gender bus.
A con is the spin men put on the reasons a woman should be happy in that seat.
A miracle is a good, overworked man who will say to his childish wife, "You want a new car? Stop watching soap operas, get a job and pay for it yourself."
A con is a physically healthy, mentally deficient wife who practices "Somebody has to take care of me."
A miracle is the glowing face of a female minister who stands in a pulpit once occupied solely by men.
The con is the thousands of years it took to brainwash her sisters into believing that women could not, should not, must not want to talk about their version of God in one of God's houses.
Among some of the biggest cons I've received lately are these:
To date I have won the United Kingdom lottery about 15 times.
I have also been selected to be the partner of a banker in Cambodia who has all these millions left in his bank by some former customer, now dead. Just as soon as I send him my Social Security number and my bank account number he will deposit part of those millions in my account. That will make us partners and I will live happily ever after.
Enter the alleged mortgage companies, the most inventive con artists in an Internet system where scams thrive like rock gardens made possible by bull manure.
Daily I receive from five to 10 of these "Your 3.4% mortgage loan has been approved" spams. The sender names are different; the loan numbers are different, the finance rate is different, but the messages are all the same: I've been approved for a loan I don't want.
One that stumped me for half a day the first time I it was "Are you available for dinner Saturday night with Gwen and me?"
I actually tried for hours to remember the sender's name. I know a lot of people, get a lot of mail, lead an active social life. Who in heaven's name were Allen and Gwen? I deleted it without ever finding out. I have since gotten the same message from Tom and Sally, and Bill and Anne, and a few other nonexistent "couples." Sigh.
Lately there have been several of these "Urgent response needed" messages from some weird Middle Eastern name. If they want my attention I suggest they learn how to spell.
I think that in the interest of gullible, trusting people - particular seniors - you, me, somebody, ought to build a site where we can post the names of these fruit flies. Hold them up for public consumption. Encourage disgusted Internet users to get revenge. Call it "The Website To Expose Scam Artists" who think you and I get up every morning and gobble a cereal call Stupid.
And, yes, I know there are spam-blockers and there is, no doubt, a book that's titled How to Block Blockheads for Dummies Like Elizabeth, but I am not tech-smart, and all things mechanical make my head hurt.
I barely get my columns out, don't get on this machine except to do my work, have never been in a chatroom and don't intend to go to one, and I have a continuing love-hate relationship with the Internet. I also have no intention of paying for something to block what I can - with great glee - delete and send to Hell's trash bin for degenerates.
And so I am stuck with the morning morons, the lunch-time lunatics, and the after-dinner ding-a-lings and dunces.
But I will continue to "beware the Jabberwock ... and shun the Bandersnatch."
Better, instead, to salute the miracle that can be found in the center of one earthy zinnia. She willingly gives us enough free seeds to turn the most meager of gardens into a place that can serve as buffer to the slime of con artists who believe winning means talking us out of our Something for which they will gladly pay Nothing.
A-R Correspondent Elizabeth T. Andrews is a former columnist for the Orlando Sentinel now living in Cartersville, Ga., where she writes poetry. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.