Sunday 04 Dec 2016

Spam
Matt Seinberg

There are two types of Spam and I dislike both. It seems somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, there resides a time when someone forced me to eat Spam, the tinned meat produced by the Hormel Foods Corporation.

I don’t remember if it was my mother, or perhaps someone at camp. All I know is tried it and spit it out, never to have it again.

The history of Spam is interesting though. Introduced, in 1937, by Hormel, it became popular during World War II when fresh meat was hard to come by. Soldiers called it “ham that didn’t pass the physical,” or “meatloaf without basic training.”

Monty Python, the British comedy troupe, celebrated Spam in song. It premiered on December 15, 1970 as the final sketch of the 25th show of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” Since then, have you ever seen Vikings singing about Spam?

The spam that truly annoys me is the electronic kind that clogs our email boxes every day. How many emails can we read about low cost Canadian drugs, male enhancement pills and pornography?

I recently posted an advertisement on Craigslist for a kids battery operated jeep that I have for sale. Although I didn’t get one legitimate response, I got a ton of spam from young women asking me to join various website to chat with them.

To make it even more enticing, most of them had one or two naked or near naked pictures of these supposed real girls. Not for one moment did I believe any of it and promptly deleted them. Yet, everyday more of this stuff keeps showing up. I suppose I should take down the ad, since it seems I’m never going to sell it.

No matter what web site we visit and sign up for or order merchandise from, the inundation of more e-mail than we can handle is almost sure to follow. Have you ever heard of a site called MyPoints? I signed up years ago for it and get points for clicking on links.

Most clicks earned five points and some even ten. If I signed up for newsletters or other offers, those totals could be as high as fifty or one hundred points. Those points could add up fast, but only if I clicked daily. Three thousand points was good for a $25 gift card to restaurants and retail stores. Now, I need thirty five hundred points for the same thing, or seven thousand for a fifty-dollar card.

I don’t click on those links nearly as much as I used to and my inbox is full of them. I think there are well over five hundred unread MyPoints e-mails, and many of them are expired. One day, I may clean my e-mail box, to get rid of all those old e-mails.

Then, of course, there are the Junk or Spam folders that our e-mail programs provide us and hopefully most of it ends up in there. I have one folder, on my server, with well over 13,000 e-mails in it, many dating from 2005! One day, I may clean out those e-mail folders, first.

Then there are the “good” emails that end up in the spam folder. To keep them out, you have to approve them as good and hope they don’t end up there again. Since I’m lazy about that, I don’t change it all the time.

Maybe, I could try to unscubscribe from many of those e-mails. Sometimes it’s next to impossible to find the unsubscribe link and when you do, they make you jump through hoops to get off the mailing list.

Finally, yet importantly, are the hacked emails from friends that send links to malicious sites that will horribly infect your computer with some potent virus and destroy your hard drive. Why would anyone want to do that? Do they do it just for some sick, twisted fun because they are stuck at home with nothing else to do?

There’s only one true solution. Delete all the email accounts, turn off your computer and never use it again.

Yeah, right.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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