I received the following e-mail the other day. The header is heavily edited for obvious reasons, but the body of the letter is word-for-word:
From: Bert Mckinnon: AssholeWithTooMuchTime@OnHis.Hands
Attachments: (Brunette.jpg) – the sort of photo that comes in a new wallet
How your mood? I very much would like to know you better... I would like to write to you a little about myself... To me of 28 years. I the brunette, very cheerful and beautiful woman... If you wanted me the nobility better can write only to my personal Email.
I hope you to me will write about myself.
Aside from the obvious (this person is tragically in love with ellipses) I’m guessing English is not the native language of the sender. And I have to wonder at the point of such a letter.
How lonely and desperate do you have to be for “If you wanted me the nobility better…” to sweep you off your feet?
And “Bert McKinnon”? What sort of name is that for an Internet temptress? I don’t know about you, but Bert screams “I’m a man” in my world, unless you are a Roberta. But anyone out for a cyber-snog with the name of Roberta McKinnon would do well to adopt a more appropriate nom de plume, such a Sally Cyberslut or Julie I-want-To-Send-You-Naked-Photos-Of-Myself-To-Gain-Your-Trust-So-I-Can-Empty-Your-Bank-Account Smith.
At least she didn’t mention the size of my penis (how do they know?) like many of the mystery women who write to me do. You know, things like “Make your man-tree hard grow so women laughing at you will stop.” I made that up, but it isn’t far off of the mark.
Unfortunately, these are the types of communications that make up the bulk of my e-mail these days. I can’t complain; it’s my own fault.
A few years ago I naïvely thought I could defeat spammers by changing my e-mail address on a regular basis. So I changed my spam-ridden e-mail address to a new one and told all my friends. Many switched to the new address. Some did not. The spammers used both. Not one to give up on a bad idea, I tried this about five times before I admitted defeat. By then I had thoroughly confused my friends and provided a huge target for the spambots.
My supposed saviour, Yahoo Spam Filter, didn’t help. There is a button you can click to notify Yahoo that the letter is spam and the filter will “learn” what is and is not spam and filter out all the bad stuff. In my experience, all the button does is alert the spammers as to where I am because whenever I undertake a campaign to eradicate spam, I generally end up with ten times more.
Worse yet, the Yahoo Spam Filter also sends all my blog comments, which are specifically tagged to go into my IN box, into my spam folder. So I currently enjoy the irony of having to go to my spam folder because, if there is any mail for me, that’s where I’ll find it.
So I am reading a lot of letters from Bert and his buddies these days. It’s a bit of a nuisance, but on the bright side it is often a revelation to discover the extraordinary and starling ways desperate third-worlders with an internet connection and a penchant for larceny can torture the English language in their attempts to woo the gullible and, one has to suppose, functionally illiterate into revealing their bank details in exchange for virtual titillation.
So until Bert and his ilk discover they can make more money robbing liquor stores, or I become wealthy enough to develop my own, effective spam filter (or at least have enough money to hire people to read my mail for me) I’m afraid finding relevant communications will continue to be a scavenger hunt through spam hell.
But those days may be over sooner than you think: I just received a notification from The National Lottery Board informing me that I have won $87,674,287.37 in the National Lottery. I can’t wait until they deposit the money in my bank account!