Typically, I get between three and six spam messages a day. My Gmail account is generally very good at filtering them out, erring as it does on the side of caution – I’ve had a handful of non-spam messages tossed on the shit pile, with perhaps just one every six months that somehow manages to slip the net and end up in my Inbox.
Every two or three days, I’ll sift through my Spam folder, just to make sure one of my friends hasn’t sent me a message pretending I’ve won vast sums of money. I’m often slightly perturbed by what I find, simply because if people are defined by the spam they receive, then I’m clearly one of life’s biggest losers.
“This is why you’re fat” sneers one message header. Hardly encouraging me to read the content within, is it? I begin to wonder how the sender knows that I’m a little soft around the middle. Have they been checking out my Facebook pics? Are they following me around on the increasingly rare occasions I venture outdoors? Perhaps the message itself will reveal the truth…
“We would like to show you why you may be “fat” and why you’re unable to lose weight no matter how hard you try.”
Odd to see the quotation marks around ‘fat’ – suggests to me they’re not really sure, or they’re being ‘ironic’. In which case I have nothing to worry about, surely?
“First off, please always know that it’s not your fault…”
The ‘always’ here is slightly troubling. It suggests a level of permanence to my condition. So what can I do?
“Press here to see why you’re fat:”
I can only assume the link that follows takes me to a page with a message in large font saying “YOU EAT TOO MUCH AND DON’T GET ENOUGH EXERCISE”. I’m not quite curious enough to see if that is or isn’t the case.
“Hello, my name is Ben Ford and I can show you how to lower your electric bill to $0.00 per month.”
Right. Evidently, I’ve been marked out as a person who doesn’t like to pay for things. So I’m fat, cheap and have bad teeth. Brilliant.
Yet oddly enough, it seems there’s still hope for me…
“Meet me tonight..I’m married and lonely – sexually explicit”
I’m immediately concerned for the mental health of this poor woman, who is apparently so desperate for male company that she’s happy to put up with a broke, manky-toothed salad-dodger like me. But then perhaps I could woo her with the handbag purchase I make from the $10,000 poker tournament I’ve apparently been entered into, or with the Rolex bought from the ‘check’ I’m about to receive for giving my honest opinion on ‘various online surveys’.
But then there’s always one other option – one which, every two or three days, I never pass up the opportunity to take.
Select all, delete forever. Goodbye, spam. It’s been…interesting.