Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam…

October 11, 2002

"I DON’T LIKE SPAM!"–Graham Chapman

There was a time when the term "spam" referred only to a specific brand of canned meat made of all the stuff that was left over when a perfectly happy and innocent pig was rendered into pork chops, bacon, ham, sausage, and pig snouts and tracheas that you can buy for an absurdly high price in many pet supply stores. Of course Spam(tm) was the first kind of spam, so even after an even cheaper knockoff called Treet(tm) began appearing on the shelves people still called it spam. (Actually Spam(tm) can claim to be at least mostly made of material from pigs, whereas a study conducted several years ago into what Treet(tm) was made of ended with the scientists involved burning down the laboratory and, although it may be unrelated, lobbying to have circus animals declared unfit for human consumption. But I digress.)

Now of course the term "spam" refers to any sort of unsolicited e-mail, unless of course it’s long rambling essays peppered with the expression, "But I digress", which you should consider yourself grateful to receive. But I digress.

Spam usually advertises some product or service or tries to trick you into visiting a web site – where you’ll be bombarded with advertising. But one of the most insidious and offensive forms of spam, and one that seems to be on the rise, is the letter asking for your bank account number. If you haven’t gotten one yet here’s how it goes: the letter starts off by saying the author has gotten your name from a mutual business partner. (For me this is always a big red warning flag because I have about as many business partners as I have kidney stones – and I want both equally as much.) The letter writer then explains that he’s got a bank account in Nigeria, Uganda, Mali, Bali, Vanuatu, Ethiopia, Fiji, Madagascar, Yap, East Timor, Tuvalu, Sri Lanka, Quebec, or some other obscure place that may or may not have been mentioned in the news lately because of a bloody political coup, civil war, or other event that has caused the author to flee into exile before he could empty his bank account in the National Bank of Nigeria/Uganda/Quebec/etc. That’s where you come in: if you give the author your bank account number, he’ll be able to transfer $10 bazillion from his bank into your bank account. In gratitude he’ll give you a percentage of that $10 bazillion, something around the level of $8 to $10 zillion. Yeah.

Believe it or not there are people who fall for this. I made the mistake of writing back once – which was a mistake because it only confirms to them that they’ve got a real fish on the other end, even if the bait isn’t being taken. I said, "You can’t think I’m that gullible." The answer I got back was, "The bank will auomaticaly[sic] convert the money fram[sic] gullibles to dollars." My lifelong belief that all con artists are geniuses, or at least really smart was shaken to the core. Really stupid people are playing this game – and winning, which means that they’re finding people even more stupid than themselves. That’s almost too scary to contemplate.

Enjoy this week’s highly intelligent offerings.


Due to increasing products liability litigation, American beer brewers have accepted the FDA’s suggestion that the following warning labels be placed immediately on all beer containers:

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may leave you wondering what the hell happened to your bra.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like a moron.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to think you can sing.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe that ex-lovers are really dying for you to telephone them at four in the morning.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you can logically converse with other members of the opposite sex without spitting.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you have mystical Kung Fu powers, resulting in you getting your ass kicked.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to roll over in the morning and see something really scary.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol is the leading cause of inexplicable rug burns on the forehead.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe you are invisible.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing WITH you.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause a disturbance in the time-space continuum, whereby gaps of time may seem to literally disappear.

WARNING: Don’t drink and drive. Ninety-five percent of the world’s people are caused by accidents.

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