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August 17, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]



You might not think it, but I love spam. My enjoyment of spam emails has grown immensely over the year, despite the grammatical horrors you can imagine they include. I imagine some sort of survival instinct has kicked in during my time as Salient‘s Chief Sub-Editor, to stop me from exploding every time I edit the music reviews. The vexing fit I got every time a certain music reviewer used an American spelling has now morphed into a nonplussed ‘meh’, and the exploding rage I got whenever someone put two spaces after a full stop is now a light-hearted chuckle.

Desensitised from all of the heinous crimes I see committed against the English language on a daily basis, I was able to look at my spam folder and be fascinated by what I found. Grammatically speaking, of course. The contents of my spam folder can be broken down into a few generic categories of spam. The first 20 percent is all from a Canadian Pharmacy trying to sell me drugs, but somehow I don’t think sending someone the same email 34 times in a single day is a good marketing tactic.

The second category is all about the viagra and penis enlargers, the sexual pleasure enhancers. They’ll try to tempt you to read the email in a few different ways, luring you in with subjects such as “I remember about you! :)“, “))) Mike’s drunk, I pictured him“, and “RE: Order status“. If this fails, there’s always a more direct subject in there too. They seem to all avoid the word ‘penis’, favouring other interesting alternatives: “Your lovestick won’t get tired” reads a subject, “Perfect hard gift for her” says another, and “Make your zipper knight the best in the whole town“.

Fail these, then a bit of randomness might intrigue you. “Масcовые раcсылки“? Not for me. “She went and opened the door” I took a look. “What does a frog want with you.” read the email. Alrighty. Here’s an interesting one: “With the Quangle Wangle Quee” says the subject. “In a beautiful pea-green boat;“.

Few of these actually manage to contain some sort of message, only a deviously hidden link that the few people who actually bother to look through the mountains of crap in their spam folder will never click on—unless of course they happen to feel compelled to do so upon finding it… Not likely. Anyway, one spam emailer out there decided to actually say something about his/her/their product in an email that appeared in my spam folder in April.

It began by asking me a very probing question: “Why Settle For Average?
Why indeed? “Get Bigger, Harder, More Intense iErections […]
iErections..? I didn’t know Apple offered such a *huge* range of products. It then goes on to list some benefits, including but not limited to:
Super-ChargedSexDrive“; “Harder and more frequent iErections“; and “Massive, earth-shattering0rgasms“.

A third category of spam emails is the completely random ones. All spam is random to some extent, using randomly generated names and email addresses and such, but some just seem to contain random collections of letters or words. “You are receiving this e-mail because you subscribed to Uip Featured Offers. Uadu respects your privacy.” writes one spam mail, “You are receiving this e-mail because you subscribed to Xqwy Featured Offers. Oziyq respects your privacy.” writes a suspiciously similar one. I imagine a cat walked on the keyboard every time they went to write their company name.

I like the random words ones even more:

Subject: hi there
afterwards the women try mouth opened side use thrown wish strange let make trouble became home world air stopped countenance.
I wonder if they’re trying out the infinite monkey theorem to sell me a penis enlarger?
try reached Mrs around understood year show standing the indeed must taste force arms wanted according became,lady opposite strong noble the
At least they didn’t end the sentence with a preposition.

The fourth and final category contains all of the non-generic spam, making up a very small percentage. It is here that you find the gems of spammers—the scammers. “Greetings from Dubai,” writes Mr. George Abraham in a lengthy email. “On November 6, 2000, an Iraqi Foreign Oil consultant/contractor  with the CHEVRON PETROLEUM CORPORATION, MR MOHAMMAD AL NASSER made a (Fixed deposit) for 36 calendar months, valued at US$17,500,000.00” he explains. “I discovered from his contract employers, Chevron Petroleum Corporation that .Mr. Mohammad Al Nasser died as a result of torture in the hand of Saddam Hussein […]

I got this email originating from an Italian email provider.

From: Barrister Yuko Ishazawa
Subject: 26 / 05 / 09

I am Yuko Ishazawa,a legal practitioner based in London i have urgent business for you.
Okay. What urgent business could this person possibly have with me? I decided not to ask. Instead, I replied as such:

From: Michael Langdon
Subject: Out of office autoreply: Re: 26 / 05 / 09

MaxGentleMan is a powerful natural herbal PenisEn1argement pill that has given a new lease of life to those people who are suffering from ErectileDysfunction…

He never got back to me.


About the Author ()

Mikey learned everything he knows about English Grammar in an MSN chat room when he was 13. Believing that people don't say "LOL" enough in everyday conversation, he has made it his mission to teach the world about grammerz one person at a time.

Comments (2)

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  1. KiwiMax says:

    The thing is, some spam can be horribly cunning. Any teenager would frisk and provide the spammer with a bank account number. But I really enjoyed the read. Keep up the great work.

  2. Mikey says:

    I just found a spam mail with the subject line I’m Batman, I demand reply.

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