Sunday, January 22, 2006

What I've Learned from Junk Mail

I honestly don't believe I've ever passed on one junk e-mail in my life. Usually, when a "friend" passes me on some junk e-mail (you know who you are) I immediately delete it. But this week I actually tried to read a few. Afterall, these were sent my friends and I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing any important advice.

This one was entitled simply, "Smile". After reading a few lines I decided to try to play "Guess What Type of Person Wrote This Junk". My guesses are in the parenthesis. Let's play:


I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in. ( immediately know already this was written by a housewife who gets no attention (sadly), but let's play on.)

I’ve learned that one good turn gets most of the blankets. (...still a woman)

I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people are just jackasses. (...a disgruntled woman)

I’ve learned that it takes years to build up trust, and it only takes suspicion, not proof to destroy it. (...this made me think it was a man)

I’ve learned that whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed. (...back to a woman)

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others—they are more screwed up than you think. (...a crazy woman)

I’ve learned that depression is merely anger without enthusiasm. ( even crazier woman)

I’ve learned that it is not what you wear; it’s how you take it off. (...definitely a woman, married now)

I’ve learned that you can keep vomiting long after you think you’ve finished. (...I'm leaving this one alone)

I’ve learned not to sweat the petty things and not to pet the sweaty things. (...a woman with a sweaty husband)

I’ve learned that ex’s are like fungus, and keep coming back. (...a married woman remembering a day when she had ex boyfriends)

I’ve learned age is a very high price to pay more maturity (...let’s me know when you get to the mature part)

I’ve learned that I don’t suffer from insanity, I enjoy it. (...not touching this one)

I’ve learned that we are responsible for what we do, unless we are celebrities (...a Republican woman)

I’ve learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity. ( true!)

I’ve learned that 99% of the time when something isn’t working in your house, one of your kids did it. (...a mom)

(Judging by the tone of this junk e-mail, I would say it was written by a Christian housewife aged 30-40. Do I win?)

I just had a junk mail forwarded to me about a Polish man, his American wife, and the conversation they had with a divorce lawyer. It was neither funny nor educational, but it was offensive.

Lawyer: Does your wife beat you up?
Pole: No, I’m always up before her.
Lawyer: Is your wife a nagger?
Pole: No, she is white.
Lawyer: Why do you want this divorce?
Pole: She is going to kill me.
Lawyer: What makes you think that?
Pole: She bought a bottle of “Polish Remover”.

Are you kidding me? Someone actually wrote this and then inflicted it on the populace. And other people actually spread it around. This could have been written by my sister's ex-huaband, easily.

Then, there’s the junk e-mail I received telling the story of a young woman walking home who—of course— had to go down a dark alley. (First of all, what’s with the dark alleys? There are no well-lit routes in these types of stories?) She saw a man at the end of the alley so she started to pray. He let her pass. The next day she read about a woman being raped in that alley just 20 minutes before she had arrived. She went down to the police station and indentified the man who immediately broke down and confessed (yeah, right). When asked why he didn’t rape the young woman too he said “she had two tall men walking on either side of her.” And it concludes with: “The moral of the story? Don’t underestimate the power of prayer! Gives you goose bumps, doesn’t it?”

So, let me get this straight: a woman avoids being raped by praying. Does this give me goosebumps? No, it doesn’t. First of all, for a made up story, this one sucks. Secondly, the implications are frightening. You’re telling me a man rapes a woman in an alley and then waits around for 20 minutes and lets three witnesses walk right past him? You’re telling me women who get raped just haven’t prayed hard enough for Jesus’ protection? You’re telling me prayer can get you out of any bad situation? The next time you're about to walk down a dark alley and fear you may get raped all you have to do is pray? You’re telling me enough people actually enjoyed this story that it eventually got to my inbox?

For every one meaningful e-mail I get from an actual friend who took the time to write me something I probably get five fabricated pieces of shit like this. Here’s a newsflash: you’re not my friend just because you forward me spam. We still haven’t had a conversation in years. Somehow I ended up on your e-mail list and I can’t get off it but I can add you to my spam filter, and I just have.

Can you imagine if real life worked like this?
Me: “Hi, Jim.”
Jim: “Did you hear the one about the Pole, his wife, and the divorce lawyer?”
Me: “Actually, I heard that one last week from Steve…”
Jim: “A pole and his wife meet a divorce lawyer…”
Me: “Jim, I’m deleting you now.”

Actually, it would be kind of nice if I could just label certain people as spammers and just never have to hear from them again. I think it would make work much more enjoyable. Because, really, when you get down to it, that's all some people are: spammers.

Ron: “Let me tell you about the episode of Knight Rider I downloaded last night!”
Me: “Please, no.”
Ron: “Michael and KITT were driving through El Paso…”
Me: “You’ve been blocked. Thank you for playing.

The Dork Three Cubes Down From Mine: "Let me tell you one of my innapropriate sexual jokes."
Me: "You're blocked, try someone else."

My boss: "Would you mind if I say something managerial to you so I can feel like I've done my job today?"
Me: "You've been blocked for six months and I've never been more productive."

What I’ve learned from junk mail is that people are morons. They want to be part of a group so bad they’ll pass on the most inane crap in an attempt to stay connected to someone. My advice: try a real conversation. Be a listener, and not just a producer of bullshit. And if you’re one of the bored, hapless people creating this insane garb please, I beg you, at least put in on a blog rather than a spam e-mail.

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