Finely Aged Spam

You know that feeling you get when you see an old friend?

You’re in line at the store and, “Hey, how have you been? Wow, your kids are how old now? Gosh, I remember when they were… Did you hear…? That’s great. We should totally get together sometime. No, not this month. How about…? Okay, well, great seeing you!”

Such a heartwarming feeling.

Or when you hear from an old penpal.

What’s a penpal? Well, back in the… it’s kinda like a, um, ask your par… uh, grandparents.

I used to have a penpal in the mid-nineties. He used to write me with fantastical stories from a far-off land. He had some great business plans going on in his life that he liked to tell me about. Hardly a week went by without another e-mail.

Then he stopped writing. Who can ever pinpoint where these relationships go awry? Maybe both of our lives became more hectic. Maybe he became upset that I didn’t respond often enough. Maybe he was like, “Hey, Wombat, the e-mails go in both directions, y’know.”

Or maybe it was just my spam filter.

Did I mention my penpal was a Nigerian prince?

Maybe he wrote to you, too?

Well, if you’re like me and you’ve wondered what happened to him, I’ve got good news. I recently signed up for an e-mail account through a non-profit and, needless to say, whatever free service the group gets its accounts from has less stringent filters than the Gmails and Yahoos of the world.

I had barely visited my first porn site sent my first e-mail from this account before I started hearing from my old penpal, still just NEEDING to transfer me a few million dollar

Or maybe it wasn’t two million dollars, maybe it was just two dollars. It’s hard to say because the commas were where the decimals should be and the decimals were where the commas should be. So whatever the fuck $,oo is, my prince friend needs to give it to me for safe-keeping. You’d think with all of that money to burn, he could purchase a Strunk & White guide for proper numerical structure when writing to an American audience.

And the Nigerian prince wasn’t the only one. He managed to keep the band together. All of his old buddies are still out there.

You know the ones.

A relative I didn’t know just died while visiting Burkina Faso, someplace my relatives are notorious for visiting because who doesn’t love a wonderful evening stroll through Ouagadougou? This relative decided to leave me, because I have the same last name, their entire fortune of $47.543,13. Strunk & White tells me that’ll cover a tank of gas with 3,13 leftover. You sunk my Battleship!

There is also the woman whose husband is dying and is desperately in need of some penicillin. No problem, I’ve got antibiotics from my last infection. I’ll drop a few pills in an envelope and… wait, you need my bank account number? I don’t think there’s any Keflex in there.

And let’s not forget the personnel manager from a “Large International” firm that is willing to pay me $2.500-$5.000 a week for some undisclosed work. Given my understanding of unnamed firms with anonymous solicitations, I assume it includes sexual favors. Nonetheless, I think need a little bit more information about the firm and the job before I give you my direct deposit information.

Yep, they’re all still out there inundating unsuspecting inboxes. What better way to relive your Macarena days than an e-mail from a Nigerian prince? It’s almost as painless as a herpes flare-up. And substantially less itchy.

Speaking of herpes, the boner pill ads are not as commonplace as they were a decade ago, but they’re still there.

It turns out there are some new spammers out there, too. Some of them are getting trickier. Some of them are just getting more hilarious.

The ones that I could actually see working appear to come from banks or credit card companies. An e-mail from Bank of America or American Express saying “Verify your deposit” or “Security Message” presumably leads to a website where I should type in my account number. I think I forwarded the first “Suspicious Activity” e-mail to the treasurer of our organization.

“Um, do we have a Bank of America account?”

“Nope. Wells Fargo.”

“Good to know.”

I was less worried when I got the email about Fraudlent Activity on my account. Whew. If it was fraudulent, I’d be worried, but I think a little fraudlent activity is good for a growing account.

There was also an e-mail from Discover that was titled “Security Message from American Express.” How nice of Discover to be so worried about the security of their competitor.

I also receive a lot of invoices and receipts for services I’m pretty sure I didn’t purchase. And why are all of your invoices zip files? That seems like an odd business practice.  And to the person who sent me an e-mail with “Pictures you requested?” Dude, don’t zip those photos, just send them individually. My MB allowance can handle it. Ditto on the financial report.

I also enjoy getting three copies of the same e-mail from different people at the same time.  I also seem to be getting a lot of e-mails from myself. Damn, just what did I do last night? I must’ve requested a lot of pictures and reports while I was blacked out.  Who knew I was a “On my desk by noon” kind of drunk?

So, just in case you wondered, all of your friends are still out there.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I just won a VisaCard e-Lottery. I’m off to go buy an Aston Martin.

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