Hello. My name is Dorien and I am a mental masochist and spam addict.
While there is nothing that infuriates me more than to be held in such obvious contempt as is demonstrated by internet spammers, I seem unable to resist exposing myself to it. If I didn't somehow perversely love it, why would I do it? I try to resist. I do. I have given it up time after time, but then, like any addict who begins to feel confident that he has conquered his addiction, I feel I'm strong enough to take just one quick, harmless glance at my spam inbox. But like "just one glass of wine" to an alcoholic, just one exposure to a message in my spam folder and I am lost, instantly caught up in the heady euphoria made up of a combination of total, utter (I know they're synonymous, but one word just can't express it properly) fury, disbelief and incomprehension that such a thing as internet spam exists.
I am just about to hit "delete all" at the top of my spam folder when my eye stumbles on "Your e-mail address has won you US$4,600,000.00"and "Exxon Mobile Award! You are the recipient of $15,000,000 in the..."
Does no one of the millions of people receiving the same message ever, ever stop to ask: How? Why? Why me? Couldn't they just as easily open a window and throw the money--if it did exist--into the street?
The fact that many spammers are functionally illiterate ("Am MrHarold Green thisis to notify you that your overdue funds has been....") apparently isn't a factor, and clearly implies that they assume the recipient is not only also illiterate but stupid to boot.
How can people possibly be so...gullible is the most charitable word I can come up with? Why are there not laws to prevent this? The people who use spam as a weapon to rob people are as much crooks and thieves as those who use a loaded gun. And their victims--anyone who actually believes what they read and responds--are, sadly, society's weakest members; the elderly, often lonely, eager for attention and the promise of a life they can only imagine; the astonishingly gullible and/or incomprehensibly trusting who, having fallen off the turnip truck so often their mental facilities have been seriously impaired, and who believe that if someone says something, it must be true.
And there those for whom greed is a major factor in releasing their grip on logic in order to reach for the carrot dangling at the end of the stick.
One of the oldest caveats known to man is "if something sounds too good to be true, it is." Yet it is neck-and-neck with "do unto others as you would done unto you" in being almost universally ignored. The blatant, callous disregard for others displayed by internet spammers is just one more step in desensitizing people to the distinction between acceptable and unacceptable.
How many articles have you read/news reports have you seen wherein a sweet little old grandmother is devastated because she has been conned out of her life savings by some beneath-contempt sub-human to whom words like compassion and honesty are alien concepts? Would this little lady have done the same thing in her 20s or 30s? Unlikely in the extreme, but there seems to be a point where a mental reversal to childhood takes place. That these sub-humans deliberately target them, like lions separating baby water buffalo from the herd, should, in any society which values justice and believes in protecting those who cannot or will not protect themselves, fuels a white-hot anger in me. I seriously cannot think of a punishment suitably severe enough for the crime of throwing away one's humanity for profit.
I relapsed yesterday, but today is the first day of my resolve to beat this addiction and simply ignore my spam folder. Yes. That's what I'll do. I can beat this thing. Anyone taking bets?
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to check out his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1 ).