Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Inbox of Doom

They just don't make spam like they used to.

I mean, for the time being. But have you noticed that lately all the subject lines are telling you you've won something? Like a gift card for a department store, or an airline ticket, or a free laptop, or a $500 shopping spree at Nordstrom's, which based on what I've seen of that particular store would get you maybe one skirt, and not a very attractive one either.

A few months ago the subject lines all appeared to have been culled at random, and sometimes they were pretty intriguing. Five or six of them lined up in your inbox might form sort of a poem. But if you opened one, they were just something stupid and prosaic, like stock prices.

Months before that, all the subject lines related to the inadequacy of your penis. I thought that was a little harsh.

But speaking of inadequate penises,* what got me thinking of all this is that I got an eVite invitation yesterday from the 11-day wonder, the guy who accepted a job in my department, made a couple of attempts to sell us all Amway, and quit. He got my email address because he asked for my phone number, and I appear to be congenitally incapable of saying "no." I even felt guilty the first time I deleted an email from him, unanswered.

It's unflattering to have been singled out as a likely target, like trying on a pair of jeans in front of the mirror and suddenly catching yourself from a particularly unfavorable angle. Sure, I didn't even open the eVite - I think he could have seen, if I had - but the implications still sting. I hope there's a special circle in hell for the people who make their way in this world by taking advantage of the better impulses of others: not stupidity or gullibility, but gentleness, and kindness, and the reluctance to hurt anybody's feelings or create ill-will. Because when you use those impulses against someone, s/he knows it; it makes that person feel stupid for being that way; it's a step towards making the world a colder and unfriendlier place.

So it's a good thing I've just won a $1000 gift card to Victoria's Secret. Exciting underwear make everything better!

*Just a guess

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