Monday, April 14, 2008

The Hopeful (and Deranged) World of Spam Email

Recently, I’ve had an influx of Spam with my email. Although my account dutifully (and pretty accurately) separates the Spam from my actual email, I am still amazed when I see dozens upon dozens of offers for gift cards and satellite dishes when I open my email each morning. On one hand, it is very annoying; the fact that I received over 100 Spam emails over the course of a few hours shows how out of control it is. However, I also can’t help but be amused by the world as presented in Spam.

This is a world for the unabashedly hopeful (or the abjectly stupid). Money in the form of retail gift cards, unsecured loans, and unclaimed tax returns is plentiful. According to Spam, the bald can grow hair, the pudgy can lose weight, and the horribly depressed and under medicated masses can easily get discounted mood enhancers. Scholarships and federal grants are just waiting to be claimed, and a new and rewarding job in message therapy or medical transcription is just around the corner. Lately, Spam has also started advertising websites where singles can meet other single people. Who knew that so many young, attractive singles were just waiting for me to click on a link and make their dreams come true?

What is really frightening about Spam is that, viewed from a certain perspective, it represents a gross parody of the American Dream. With absolutely no effort, it is possible to get money, a career, a relationship, or some sort of surgical enhancement in order to make life perfect, at least until the next problem comes along. Yet, while I have never had the desire to send money to a displaced Nigerian exile, Spam (when not taken seriously or opened) can be a source of great entertainment.