Home Sweet Home
The obligatory bio
Charites & Organizations
My Calgary Sun Column & More
Law Stuff
Gary Lautens
E-mail me!

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...*

by Stephen Lautens


July 18, 2003

A recent study found out that the few minutes a day the average employee spends deleting junk email on their computer actually adds up to almost a full week wasted every year.

I can believe it. In the course of a single day, I get more than a hundred emails. A small handful are from readers, business associates and friends. Thankfully the rest of my family hasn’t really discovered email, except for the one cousin who insists on constantly sending me poems, old jokes and photos of their cat. The rest of the email I get is complete junk.

Everyone else I know has the same problem. A couple of times I’ve tried to email my column into my editor, only to have it come back to me undelivered with a message that her mailbox is full. When I call she tells me that she’s busy trying to delete all the email porn she receives every morning, and until she does none of the rest of us can get through.

The first thing I wonder is whether anyone ever replies to junk email. Someone must, I suppose, otherwise there wouldn’t be an entire industry sending it out every second of every day. You have to wonder though who the few people are who actually respond to it. Whether it’s mail order Viagra, herbal hormones, or the latest "manhood enhancer", none of these things are what any normal person would buy from a stranger on the Internet only identified as freakypete@psychodelicwombat.net.

It’s hard not to take it personally, but I get so many emails offering to make me a better lover that I’m starting to get a complex. You wonder who might be spreading these rumours.

Likewise, I guess my wedding announcement wasn’t clear enough, since there are apparently "hundreds of hot Russian ladies" dying to meet me "for marriage, friendship and more". My wife is understanding, but I think she might draw the line at my having a Russian mail-order bride around the house, even if she does offer to pitch in with the vacuuming.

The extent and variety of adult entertainment emails that arrive unbidden in my inbox really do make you realize the world is indeed a strange place. Although I like to consider myself a man of the world, there are some combinations of human gymnastics that make me scratch my head. Of course these unsolicited emails always arrive when your boss is standing over your shoulder. I guess there’s some comfort in knowing that he’s receiving junk email from www.nakedeastgermanshotputters.com too.

My favourite junk emails are the ones supposedly from former African dictators or their assistants. Apparently news of my trustworthiness has somehow spread to Botswana, where the former Minister of Bribes and Kickbacks has $10 million in a secret bank account that his widow needs my help in releasing. If I send them a mere $5000 transfer tax fee, half of the $10 million could be mine. Although it’s hard to believe, the RCMP reports that every year a handful of people still fall for this pathetic email scam.

Amid the viruses and nudie pictures someone keeps sending emails offering to share with me the world’s best carrot cake recipe. I suppose like the husband-hungry Russian women or the get rich quick African bankers, someone somewhere has me on an email list of people who really, really like carrot cake. And for some reason that’s the one that really freaks me out.
(* Legal disclaimer: Since Hormel, the producers of Spam luncheon meat, have been threatening to sue the pants of anyone who refers to junk mail using the name of their product, let me say I am in no way referring to their delicious can of meat. So there.)

© Stephen Lautens 2003

Back to column archive index