Spam-spam-spam-spam

With a heavy heart we bow our heads and mourn the passing of another beloved email address. Ever the faithful, digital postman my dear address kept me connected through its long life, stayed not by snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night,… and only occasionally crippled by crappy IP outages. I’ll cut short the touching eulogy since that may be overstating its condition a bit. Perhaps the more appropriate description would be say that my email address has finally “jumped the shark”. Not in the literal sense as when the 50’s sitcom character actually jumped a shark with water skis and a ridiculous outfit but in the figurative sense that has evolved from that very piece of syndication suicide. In this case the ridiculous event in question was the day the methodical and menacing invasion of spam finally got the death grip on my innocent email address. What started as a slow trickle of pesky emails littering my junk folder became a deluge of annoying and repetitive crap that side-stepped my spam filters and overwhelmed the account. Unless you’re a frequent consumer of penis enlargement drugs, fraudulent credit reports or mail-order brides from Ukraine you are forced to tread lightly and cautiously collect any legitimate mail least you delete in bulk and miss that Facebook alert from Uncle Jimmy who is in desperate need of extra lives in Candy Crush. “Fear not, Uncle Jimmy I’m here for you. This time.”

Like a digital cancer, you never know where the malignancy originated and which cases will be terminal. You may be extremely diligent with your online footprint, taking care to avoid trading your personal information for a free trial subscription to the “International Bacon Club” and making sure to research ‘Top 10 Sex Toys of 50 Shades of Gray” from someone else’s work computer, only to slip up and forget to check the opt-out box for the HGTV newsletter while entering to win yet another Dream Home sweepstakes. After a moment of panic you pray that perhaps that won’t be the harbinger of doom, and the resulting emails from that transgression will be easily laundered through your trusty junk-box. After all it’s hard to imagine an association between a DYI home improvement site and wannabe Ukrainian housewives. It’s not like an Amazon.com cross product promotion “Customers who bought the Shark Steam Mop also enjoyed Ukrainian mail order brides.” On the other hand, I honestly can’t imagine the peddlers of this crap are all that sophisticated. The overall quality of spammy emails is nothing to write home about even if you’re an Ethiopian prince with a winning lottery ticket. Most have potentially meaningful titles filtered through a third-rate translation app or non-native speakers and then littered with suspicious links connected to even more suspicious addresses that have absolutely no relation to the original meaningful title. Why exactly does the Internal Revenue Service site have Asian characters and no .gov extension?  Whatever the reason I’m sure they’ll make good use of my social security number.

Now as my beloved email enters its final death throes I’ll take a page from the Donner Party playbook and offer it up body and soul as sacrifice for the greater good of those left behind (namely my other email addresses). So now when it comes time to apply at another job board, dabble with a free online game trial or renew my subscription to the “International Bacon Club” the doomed address will bravely take the bullet, knowing his sacrifice will keep us all a little safer from the future threats of Steamy Korean Girls offering free Equifax Credit Reports.

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