Monday, April 18, 2011

The Bill Company

As is the case with virtually everybody under seventy nowadays, I check my e-mail first thing in the morning. Typically, I count more missives in my spam folder than in my mailbox proper. And while my AOL spam filter does a yeoman’s job at separating the wheat from the chaff, occasionally bona fide correspondence finds itself sleeping with the spam. So, before deleting the whole sorry lot, I scrupulously peruse the sender addresses and subject fields. And admittedly, I cannot help but find some of the headings quite entertaining!

Once upon a time this sort of thing was not only more unfiltered and commonplace, but overwhelmingly sex-themed and no-holds-barred coarse. Slowly but surely, though, solicitations inviting me to watch people do it with a pig, goat, or horse fell by the wayside. They were, of course, replaced by Viagra and penis enlargement pitches that I’d hazard a guess were—if not outright shams—exaggerating their successes. Eventually, this sexually charged importuning diminished to a trickle—in my mailbox at least—only to be replaced by extended car-warranty and boring-as-all-Hell vitamin supplements for sale entreaties. 

I am happy to report that my spam du jour is now Nigerian money scams and their many epigones. And since I don’t dare open any of these e-mails, I content myself with the subject matter. This particular spam genre is my all-time favorite, I must say, and certainly goes better with the morning cup of coffee than bestiality porn and male enhancements. Courtesy of the inevitable malaproping, inadvertent puns, and general incoherence that go with the territory of not being proficient in the mother tongue of prospective suckers, foreign scams targeting the English-speaking peoples are precious indeed.

This very morning, I received a couple of e-mails offering me an incredible opportunity. One announced: “Sir, Waiting Money.” Another read: “Inheritance Estate Devoted to You.” The last one plucked from the virtual rubble could either have been an opportunity or something intended to frighten me into paying off a bogus debt. I guess I'll never know. It was headlined “The Bill Company.”

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