Off The Record: Fed up with computer junk mail? Spam the spammers

April 19, 2004|HERB BROCK

As a computer-challenged chump, I was the last person in the United States of America to understand the Internet, Web sites, e-mails and all that other electronic stuff that has made my Stone Age life miserable. My lack of know-how in things computer has left most friends and associates wondering what cave I have been inhabiting.

Thus, these same comrades thought I must have been Saddam's spider hole roommate when I was oblivious to spam. In fact, when I first heard all the moaning and groaning from folks about spam, I actually thought they were talking about the infamous faux ham, that treat that was developed for soldiers and peddled to the masses. It was a GI ration that ultimately attacked everyone's GI systems.

When I joined in spam-bashing chats, I'd say something like, "I agree, it's not that tasty, but you can jazz it up with some mayo and pickle relish." The wrinkled brows, rolling eyes and looks of puzzlement should have told me that I was not talking about the same spam they were talking about.


Then, after I figured out they were talking about the computer equivalent of junk mail, I was interested in it. While my computer-literate colleagues were trying to figure out ways to block spam from entering their e-mail systems, I actually was intrigued by the spam that entered mine. I found it absolutely mind-boggling that people from around the country knew of me and my e-mail address. And I figured they must have been loyal readers and felt familiar with me because they would put my first name in the subject lines of their e-mails.

But after a while, I started to wonder about these e-mail friends of mine. They seemed to be obsessed with either sex or drugs or low mortgage rates. Here are a couple of fairly clean examples:

* "Herb, check out glamour chicks and their nice sets!"

* "Herb, stop admiring the big girls you love from afar and get up close and personal!"

* "Herb, super offers for super potent medications!"

* "Herb, up to 80 percent off your prescription meds!"

* "Herb, refinance at 2.9 percent!"

* "Herb, own that dream home at under 3 percent!"

From my dream cave, I read this stuff for years thinking it was personal to me. Then I emerged from my Neanderthalic mental abode one day not long ago to realize there was nothing personal at all about these e-mails selling stuff to enhance my sex life, medical condition and home-owning status.

And I decided it was time these e-mail ads promoting small lending rates, medicine cabinets full of drugs and big girls and big other things came to a stop. Since I realized these promos weren't personal to me, I have found it annoying to check out my e-mails at work every morning and find as many as 30 are from spamsters. I have been so annoyed, in fact, that I go overboard when I'm deleting these messages and sometimes accidentally kill off e-mails actually meant for me and not having anything to do with Viagra.

While the more sophisticated, computer-literate folks attempt to fight spamsters electronically and legally, I am battling them and, fittingly, doing it primitively. I am spamming the spamsters.

Every so often, I will take the time to pick out two or three spamsters and then send e-mails to them with my own promotions. Examples:

* "Bill, you'll go yikes over the sexy yaks I've lined up for you!"

* "Pete, check out these Serbo-Croatian midget acrobat chicks just waiting to meet you!"

* "Suzy, big boys with beer guts can't wait to belch on a date with you!"

* "Tom, no-interest loans for that dream double-wide!"

* "Dick, check out this list of loan sharks and the free bullet-proof vest with every loan application you'll need if you don't pay them on time!"

* "Harry, you won't have to drive to Mexico or Canada when you can get comparable drugs at low, low prices close to home from precocious 8-year-old geeks with new chemistry sets!"

My assault on the spamsters hasn't reduced the number of spam e-mails but it has given me a rush - and it does so without any porn, pills or no-pay loans.

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