Don’t send me your junk!
June 15, 2012 3:26PM
Updated: July 18, 2012 6:09AM
The other day, I got an email from my Internet provider saying that my mailbox was full.
One would think that as a nationally syndicated humor columnist, I would have so much incoming mail that I’d have to hire an assistant to deal with it all. At least that’s what this particular nationally syndicated humor columnist would have thought, but it hasn’t exactly turned out that way. I get approximately three actual reader emails per month, sometimes more if I make a grammatical error in a column, which I do occasionally just to give those retired English teachers out there something to get worked up over. (They’re a pretty touchy group. I think it’s built up resentment from all those years of kids pretending to read Ethan Frome when they really just scanned the Cliff Notes.)
The emails I do get, though, and in great volume, are junk mail messages from people who clearly don’t know much about me. I don’t even know how they got my email address.
I get weekly emails from a company letting me know that they have a solution to all my IT needs. I don’t have any IT needs, and didn’t even know what “IT” meant until I looked it up. (It means “information technology,” as in computer stuff) The only computer-related need I have right now is that my “F” key sticks whenever it gets hot out because my daughter spilled a soda while using my laptop. I don’t think it can be fixed without getting a new laptop, and I already threatened to beat my daughter if it happens again, so I’ve done all I can at this point.
Every other day, I get emails from companies letting me know I can get some sort of service I don’t want for half the full price I never intended to pay. They are most often for things like laser spider vein treatments, chiropractic packages, and gardening classes. I realize I’m not the most manly-looking guy out there, but the people at Groupon seem to think I am one of the Golden Girls.
A fair number of emails are from people in China who want to sell me large quantities of prescription drugs over the Internet. I am kind of scared of the side effects of the FDA-approved, bona fide prescription drugs I get from my pharmacy. I’m guessing these Chinese knockoff drugs contain all kinds of strange ingredients, and their side effects are probably pretty monstrous. Despite what the people from Groupon might think, I do not have boobs, and I don’t have any intention of growing them. So I’ll pass.
Some of the emails are from perfect strangers who say they can consolidate my massive credit card debt, while others are from people who want me to take out new loans with them. I think the two of them should email each other and get their stories straight. You can’t be both a deadbeat and great credit risk at the same time, unless you are a bank or a foreign government.
For years, I’ve been getting emails from people in Nigeria telling me that they can make me a rich man if I’ll just forward them my banking information and Social Security number. I’m pretty sure if I did provide them with access to my account, once they checked the balance, they’d give up trying to scam nationally syndicated humor columnists and concentrate on people who have money. They could, however, easily settle the debate between the credit counselors and the credit offerors. The counselors win!
I have this thing where I forward all my emails to my phone. It’s sad, but it gives me an opportunity to look important around my kids. When my phone buzzes, I look down and nod seriously. If it’s an IT email, I tell my kids it’s too technical to discuss. If it’s about fake drugs from China, I tell them its international business. If it’s about my credit, it’s high finance on the line. If it’s an email from Nigeria, I tell the kids to go ahead and order the extra scoop on the sundae, because it looks like Dad’s coming into some big bucks.
I thought of getting an assistant to handle all my emails, but it’s a pretty simple process. You just have to sit there, hitting delete endlessly, pausing only once in a while, when you come across a message from a retired English teacher who is angry as a hornet that you ended a sentence with a preposition. Those people, you almost always have to write back to.