Matter of Laugh or Death
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
JUNK MAIL GOES HIGH-TECH
I am getting inundated with junk email. (At this very moment folks are exclaiming, “Good! You deserve it!” as my weekly e-newsletter is considered junk in many circles.)
When I first started using email a few years ago, almost all of the unsolicited, junk messages I received were offers to check out pornographic websites. I don’t know how they got my email address so quickly, but within days of setting up my new computer, every smut peddler from L.A. to Copenhagen to Johannesburg was sending me trashy messages trying to entice me to “fulfill all my dreams and desires!” (They obviously don’t know me very well. When there is a “Red Sox win the World Series!” website, all my dreams and desires finally will be fulfilled.)
For some strange reason, college co-eds are disproportionately represented in all the email offers. “Hot co-eds!” “Sexy co-eds just for you!” “College gals earn extra money posing nude!” and on and on and on.
I spent my college days back in the 1970s trying to get co-eds interested in me (even fully clothed would have been fine), but to no avail. Now, over 20 years later, by virtue of nothing more than the fact I bought a computer, female students across America are staying up all night begging for the opportunity to please me. When do they study? How do they keep their grades up? Whatever happened to working in the library to earn extra money?
I don’t know, maybe these email messages exaggerate just a bit. I bet some of the girls are only part-time students at Community Colleges.
I still have no idea how they contacted me so quickly. A friend of mine told me porn sites can somehow capture the email address of anyone who visits the site, but that doesn’t apply to me, of course, since I’ve never, ever perused one of those digital dens of iniquity, not even out of curiosity. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
After about a year of getting anywhere from 10 to 20 of these emails each day, I noticed that the junk mail subject lines began to change. Instead of something like, “Naked Hollywood stars waiting for you!” (which always made me think, “Yeah, but what if the stars turn out to be Walter Matthau and Dom Deluise?”), the subject lines now read, “Buy Viagra online for half price!”
I guess they figured since I wasn’t going to their porn sites, there must be something wrong with me—something the ol’ Bob Dole wonder drug might cure. (I wonder if Bob gets a commission on online sales, too.)
In recent months the subject of the junk emails has changed once again. Almost everything I get these days is financial related: get-rich quick schemes, great job opportunities, hot investments, real estate deals, etc.
Apparently, the Cyberspace marketers have now decided if I’m not a sex maniac (I wonder how busy the Oval Office computer is? That modem must be smoking!), then I must be obsessed with that other lustful addiction: wealth accumulation.
Unfortunately, none of the email messages have yet to offer me the kind of financial deal I prefer: they send me a stack of hundred-dollar bills, I say thank you, and then we have no further contact. All the offers require me to send them money first—with the virtual certainty that I’ll quadruple my investment in 10 days, or 10 minutes, or whatever they claim.
The real estate offers make me wonder, though. Are there really people who invest in real estate over the Internet? I mean, you can get screwed with real estate deals even when you see the property first-hand.
Can you image buying real estate online? Some website displays a photo of a cute little house, and then they send you an email note: “Here is your new lakeside bungalow! The golf course is almost finished. Just send a cashier’s check for $75,000 to our Post Office box in Miami and we’ll mail you the deed, uh…real soon. Yeah, that’s it. You’ll get the deed to the property in four to six weeks. Trust us.” Do people really do that?
Some of the other email subject lines are comical, employing reverse psychology. “Don’t waste my time unless you want to be RICH in 30 days.” Oh, excuse me. I didn’t realize I was wasting your time by receiving your unsolicited email message.
Well, all this proves beyond a doubt that online marketers understand that human beings have been, and always will be, obsessed with a pair of four-letter words: SEXX and MUNY.
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