The dark side of email

I like email. Correction, I really, really like email. Not because it is nice and cuddly, because it isn’t. Or because it smells or tastes good, because it doesn’t. But like you, I like it because it is quick, convenient and you don’t have to buy a stamp or walk in the rain just to send a message. Not to mention, it’s free.

Sometimes, my inbox can be a little cluttered but that’s just something that comes with the territory and at least it’s not taking up space on my desk. Email is good. I have gotten good news and tips via email and communicated with friends I would have rarely written to, or called, otherwise.

But like a rose has thorns, there is a little bug that bothers me. The dark side of email, if you will. No, it’s not the addiction. It’s SPAM. Annoying, distracting with perhaps the intention of driving you mad, these unsolicited emails, offer everything from money to God to trips abroad, not to mention drugs. 

One titled ‘Fly free to Antigua and Barbuda’, popped into my inbox recently. Okay, from what I’ve heard about, Antigua, I think I would like the country. The email informs me that it’s a Facebook competition. Hmm… a little difficulty there. I’m pretty sure that I have a Facebook profile or account or whatever but where is it? Okay, so no trip to Antigua for me.

Another mail with the 23rd Psalm tells me that the Lord is crazy about me. What a relief. I’m in line for a free pass to heaven. It advises me to forward the message to people I am “crazy about”. Erm… little problem there, there is hardly anyone I am “crazy about”. It goes on to say “I though this was pretty special just like you”. Yep, I know I’m special.

“What if I told you that I’m making thousands of dollars each week and I’m not paying a dime for advertising,” another asks. I’m a little tired of opening spam after spam so I politely think: ‘I’m not interested’. But rudely, without any pause, the message goes on to inform me that Google, Yahoo, MSN and others are sending the person hundreds of new customers every week – at $0 cost! “Make Money On Auto-Pilot While You’re Sleeping Or Even On Vacation? STOP Everything You Are Doing and Read This Now,” it shouts at me. I’ve already stopped and I’m looking for an auto-pilot button. The Lord knows I need one. I need money too and the message adds that it works for any product, website or affiliate website and in other words I can have years of Research, Testing, and Experience At my Fingertips. All I have to do is read the attached file. That was its fatal mistake.

And reaching out to me from across the Atlantic, Mr Toure Ibrahim, whom I do not know and who is apparently the Head of File Department of the African Development Bank, sends me a message about a tsunami disaster in Indonesia. “Remittance of $15 Million USA dollars, confidential is the case,” he warns.

He seems polite, if a little slack in the English department and asks that I forgive his “indignation” if the message comes as a surprise and offends my “personality” for being contacted without my prior consent. He says that he trawled through a professional database while searching for a foreign reliable partner and found me. My reputation preceded me apparently and he assures me that he knows of my “capability and reliability to champion this business opportunity.” But there is more. After praying and fasting, he was “divinely directed” to contact me. ”I believe that God has a way of helping who is in need,” he blithely assures me.

Now that Toure and I are almost friends, he informs me that they recently discovered US$15M in the account of a foreign customer who died, along with all his relatives of course, in the Asian tsunami disaster. If the money remains unclaimed after 5 years, then it will be transferred to the national treasury and we wouldn’t want that now, would we?

I’ll get US$6M for my honest cooperation and be protected from any breach of the law. “You are therefore expected and advised to display high degree of maturity, responsibility and understanding in handling this information,” Toure, my would-be business partner says. He says that it is the highest confidence and trust any person can repose on the other, especially since we don’t know each other. Right. He leaves his phone number and asks my name, age and everything else. He warns me to keep everything secret to ensure that the transfer is done smoothly. Goodbye, Toure.

As if by magic, a message pops up telling me ‘resignation – it sure would be lovely if it happened’. Okay, someone in the office wants me to resign. I’m guessing that the Lord isn’t crazy about them. But it was addressed to a ‘manager’, which I am not and said that the person was resigning effective immediately because s/he found something in their garage before coming to work.

Now I’ve never found something in my garage that would make me leave the job immediately. Matter of fact, I don’t even have a garage. So it must have been something pretty expensive. The message invites me to see for myself but I didn’t see anything. At the bottom, it said “Money Angel”. I would find an unexpected windfall if passed it on. If I forwarded it to six of my good friends or family, I would be rich in four days; if twelve friends or family, riches in two.

Now I want to be rich but I reason that if money angels existed, invisible or not, there would be no global financial crisis. Delete. I hate spam.


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