The Joy Of Spam: Making The Most Out Of Something Annoying

Since I have been online for over a decade (actually much longer), it comes as no surprise that I get SPAM. About 100 a day on average, most of which spam filters hide from me, and more on weekends when the spammers really get going. I get spam in all languages. I get spam from the “President of the United States” and “Billz E. Gates”! I get spam that looks like a team of drunken monkeys typed it with their balls, and what is being sold and why is often completely undecipherable.

It’s time to celebrate the benefits of spam!

1. If you are a writer, fake names harvested from Spam make great character names. Then again, there are the unintentionally hilarious computer-generated monikers: “Schmuck G. Deriding, Iroquoian L. Biscuit, Zirconium H. Coquetted,Vealed C. Certitude, Abusiveness O. Solitude, Cursoring U. Bayonet, Disabling Condom, Kangaroo D. Castanet, Withering A. Footstool, Bombay Dyslexic, Disallows H. Bootstrap, Epidermis V. Manhunt, Frescoes S. Congo, Vegetated H. Febrile, Vacillating K. But,” just to name a few that another blogger (Phillip LaPlante) noted.

2. You can learn new 1337speak variations, especially how to spell VIAGRA and CIALIS with symbols and numbers…or, as LaPlante commented, appreciate that “subject lines can contain similar kinds of whimsy, or rely on the human brain to “i n t rp rit the c rr ct meening.”

3. You can play “Punk’d” with Nigerian scammers. There are actually entire websites that do nothing but share Nigerian 411 scammer punkings. Total strangers do not offer large sums of money, in general, to people via e-mail. I mean, would YOU do it? The only legitimate response is to string them along and ask for naked or embarrassing pictures with them wearing a shoe on their head and holding signs saying “I like tiny cupcakes” or something equally lame written on them.

4. You can keep up with the latest Urban Legends without going to snopes.com. I’m still waiting for Bill Gates to send me on an all-expenses-paid trip to Disneyland for filling out his way awesome survey, or for an animated Tweety Bird to walk across my screen because I responded to a total stranger’s e-mail that swore it would happen. Except I’m not. I don’t even like Disneyland or Tweety Bird.

5. You can participate in slacktivism by not signing petitions or reading chain mail. You have achieved the same result, but have expended no valuable time or attention to the problem at all! Conservation of resources is good.

6. Speaking of chain mail, you can bring 40 people bad luck by refusing to forward on their lame chain letter.

7. If you have penis envy, all the mail targeted to penis owners will cure you of that. Apparently penises are never long enough, wide enough, hard enough or functional enough, and you need all manner of pills and herbs to keep them operational. I think I’ll just stick to borrowing one once in a while from very close friends.

8. Speaking of friends, now you can meet lots of new naked friends! I get sent at least twelve porn links a day from naked people. I can’t go a day without a spammer intent upon infesting my computer with pop-ups and malware from an awesome porn site. Hold me back!

9. You can correct bad grammar, and keep your skills up to date. This is like shooting large fish in a small barrel. It is often more challenging to find a sentence in spam that is not a grammatical nightmare.

10. Word salad spam is particularly amusing, as it can often resemble William S. Burroughs-style “cut and paste” beat poetry. Enigmatic technicolour doorknob! Restless meerkat harbls! Antiquated velveteen renal foyer macadamias! Pickled milkshake Siberian antimacassar doughnuts! Constipated mongeese Cousteau sunshine wounded! Baffled fruit cocktail Batman fungoid cylinders! Rumpled nanosecond terrycloth pantaloons! Sensitized furniture millennium dentifrices!What does it all mean? I feel more wise and intellectual and artsy already.

11. You can stay informed about politics that were last relevant in 2004, or read 12 messages a day from people claiming to be Barack Obama. I still get pro-John Kerry spam. Dudes, I was really pissed off a few years ago, too, but it is time to let it go. I’m pretty sure Kerry has.

12. If you have too much money, you can buy stocks from spammers. I always trust unsolicited financial advice I get from total strangers who can’t spell!

13. If you still have too much money, you can refinance your mortgage, even if you don’t actually have a mortgage. Is that awesome or what?

14. Still looking for ways to get rid of all those pesky dollars clogging your wallet? There’s always Internet Gambling! You are guaranteed to win! Those gambling sites aren’t in it to take your money at all. Awesome!

15. I am particularly impressed by phishing attempts to scam me out of, for example, my eBay data when I haven’t used eBay in years and am no longer an account holder at the site (as far as I know). ZOMG, my non-existent account has been compromised! Maybe “I” will win some cool auctions and have interesting packages arrive at my door. Dumbasses.

16. The celebrity gossip spam is also pretty cool, especially since I rarely pay attention to celebrities and have no idea who half of these supposedly famous people are. By spamming me with celebrity gossip, I stay “in the know” without even having to glance at the tabloids when I check out at the grocery store. However, since I don’t know who most of these people are, or simply don’t give a crap, why should I click those enticing links? I don’t care who “Shia LeBoeuf” is dating. (I’d swear that was a made-up name, but it rings a bell. I don’t know if it is a he or she, though. It has no relevance to my life.)

17. The pseudo-intellectual spam is also pretty nifty. LaPlante quoted one of his favourites:”To ensure the equality of the diagonals, we make use of a little testing-rod. Thus the body has the same energy as a body of mass on a Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Continuum. The surface of a marble table is spread out in front of me.” This text is then followed by instructions to get low prices on little blue pills.

18. MySpace had its own special spam, remember? I got spam for free gift cards, fugly designer crap, and more naked people. (These people now spam pictures of awful athletic shoes and overpriced heels and try to get people to fall for ‘free gift cards’ on Facebook.) Anyway, there sure are a lot of naked people out there. I see a naked person for free every day, man.

19. Learn Spamlish! I get ten spam-mails a day that say strange crap like “Buadtzy your mmpnllhdjmreds hyhsjijtnfonline.” (An actual quote.) Say what? I think that translates to “Click on me and verify your e-mail address is legitimate! Send me all your money!”

20. Learn what not to search for via GoogHoo, and you won’t get as much cool spam. Spam works like Darwin Awards to week out the weak and gullible! If you don’t have enough spam, here’s how to get some: search for free crap online.

The 8 Most Dangerous Search Terms:

  • Free screensavers
  • Bearshare
  • Screensavers
  • Winmx
  • Limewire
  • Download Yahoo Messenger
  • Lime wire
  • Free ringtones

Across all searches, up to 6 percent of the sites were flagged as dangerous, notes the BBC. “Even a single visit to a dangerous site can have serious and lasting implications for the average internet user,” Edelman and Rosenbaum wrote in their report.

(While we’re at it, don’t be stupid and use an easily-guessed password anywhere.

The top 10 most common passwords:

  • Your user name
  • Your user name followed by 123
  • 123456
  • password
  • 1234
  • 12345
  • passwd
  • 123
  • test
  • 1

Yes, people do this. Argh! I had to keep my mother from choosing one of the variations on this list.)

21. If you have spam, you have a guaranteed hot topic to bitch about and most people will happily bitch right along with you. Spam creates unity and agreement!

22. No free lunches! You could probably rid yourself of 99% of your spam by adding a mail filter that scans for the word “free” and immediately zorches with extreme prejudice any email you get that includes that word. Of course, there would be some false positives. Train your friends to never use the word “free,” then. Or “viagra.” Or “teens.” Easy! Or you can be like me and never check your email until all your buddies get mad at you and stop emailing you. Then all you ever have in your INBOX is spam, and can just “delete all” without reading anything. What a time saver!

23. Spammers NEVER get my name right. This is an easy way to zorch the tardburgers who try to sell me pills for my non-existent penis. As a bonus, I get to collect new and improved misspellings of my real name and a bunch of wacky new aliases. Do you think I can be “Kangaroo D. Castanet”? I kind of like that one.

24. Wow, free legal software! I believe that I can get the entire Macromedia suite, or all Adobe products or MicroSmurf Vista X, on dialup, no less, just by clicking a link! Rock on! I’ll be sure to trust this unsolicited spam mail from a total stranger who wants to send me to “http://totallylegalforrealio.xxxpornware.org.” They are only thinking of my well-being and such, of course.

25. Free empty flattery and friendships! I get told via spam every day that I am someone’s friend, or a smart shopper, or clever investor, or super sexy. Wow! They really know me!

So, hey, spam is great! Love your spam.

Since all spammers are going to be poked in the eye with lemon-and-tabasco-dipped spikes and roasted over flaming pits of brimstone while boy bands serenade them for all eternity, at least once they die, you can rest assured that ignoring spam is your mission from God. Put on your sunglasses, grab your smokes, and brush up on the Blues.

The flaw with ignoring spam, alas, is that it doesn’t give up and go away. If I ignore the Jehovah’s Witnesses who traipse through my ‘hood every other week or so, and refuse to stop whatever far more interesting activity I am engaged in to get up and answer the door, they eventually stop knocking and ringing the bell and wander off to bug someone else. If only spam was as accommodating.

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