Strolling along beaches of SPAM |

Strolling along beaches of SPAM

Barry Smith

I miss my SPAM. After years of whining about the deluge of junk e-mail that jams my inbox, I have finally come very close to ridding myself of it. And now I miss it. A ton of SPAM still gets sent to me,of course, but it now gets automatically rerouted and housed somewhere in a cyber storage shed. Once a week I go online and scroll through my backlog of quarantined SPAM, presumably to check for anything that may have been incorrectly identified as junk, like if someone e-mailed me an offer for a lucrative publishing contract and mistakenly used the subject heading, “Haha, Urs Are Too Small For Ur Woman!”As I’m scrolling, I feel more like I’m strolling … strolling on a beach littered with seashells. Some of them catch the sun just right, revealing their stunning beauty and perfection, so I pick them up and put them in my pocket. Occasionally I hold one up to my ear to see if I can hear the sound of the ocean, but instead I hear a voice saying, “You’re not on a beach! You’re on your computer looking at SPAM! Put down the coffee and open a window!”Here are a few pocketed offerings from some of my recent strolls, with my personal reflections in [brackets]:-From: Santiago FieldsSubject: Refill Your Prescription Online Barrys gobblecarthaginian[I generally don’t care much for prescription medications, as there are so many nonprescription ones available that suit me just fine. However, if prescription drugs exist that cause you to finish your sentences with random outbursts like “gobblecarthaginian,” then perhaps it’s time for me to take another look.]From: Loretta SaenzSubject: Christian Pharmacy[This was an intriguing concept, though the body of this message was a basic ad for generic sexual performance drugs, with no more mention of Christianity. Too bad, as I think they really missed out on some marketing opportunities, like “Resurrect your manhood,” or “Does she cry out for more loaves and fishes?” or “Are you prepared for the second coming?”]From: Jonathan WilkersSubject: AlineMessage: Barry dusty shimmy beside libreville maggie biltmore mural hone hotelman borealis azimuthal ooze. A Genuine College Degree in 2 weeks! [Though it’s true that I don’t currently have a college degree, I’m not sure that being a Tourette’s major is really going to boost my earning potential.]From: PopeSubject: seafoodMessage: This stock will EXPLODE on 15th of July. Huge Exposure expected.[OK, let’s recap – Not only does the Pope bother to send me a stock tip, but he titles the e-mail “seafood,” offering further proof that Salvador Dali has incarnated into my hard drive. God, I love this century.]From: DreamShape BVMSubject: Look Great in 2004, while sleeping[The thing is, I already look great while sleeping. In fact, I think it’s during my slumber that I am at my most attractive. Because I’m not talking.]From: NannieSubject: Size does matter more than you think!![Some people call their grandmother Grandma, Granny, Grams, Gran-ma-ma, Ohma, etc. Well, we all call my grandmother “Nannie.” I realize this is your basic SPAM with a generic, computer-generated name for the sender, but it’s easily one of the most disturbing ones I’ve ever received.] From: Gregory McCabe Subject: Barry’s Fan Club [Fan club? I have a fan club? As I clicked on this message I anticipated requests for autographed glossies for members, maybe some trivial information about my shoe size and favorite color for publication in the inaugural newsletter. If the request was there, it was carefully hidden in a dead-end link and the words: “Barry, I hope … penalty … this will syntactic off bucketfull!!”Still … I have a fan club!]From: Karin RangleSubject: cheese wheel ballerinas about 153[Um … OK, sure. Why not?]Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays. His e-mail address is, and his very own Web page is at

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