Spamming the globe

My email program, which touts itself as the best in the world, promises effective spam filtering, easy-to-organize mailing lists and hassle-free access from anywhere. It does all of that. And, like all other email programs, it randomly throws real email into the spam file.

It’s like hiring a moving company to get your furniture across town and finding out six months later that the box with your wedding pictures didn’t make the trip because the van driver threw it out on a whim. “Sorry. Who knew you’d want something like that?”

It’s only when you get an email from something that should have automatically been put in your spam file, like “worldsraunchiestsexvideos” or “tryviagrafree,” that you investigate. Sure enough, most of the stuff in the junk file will be junk — amazing junk, obvious junk.

You wonder who would respond to “Get prescriptions at half price” from A. Nonymous. How can he afford to do it? Because he makes the pills in his basement from sawdust, cornstarch and food coloring and there isn’t any real medicine in them, that’s how. And he passes the savings along to you, the soon-to-be-dead consumer. One of his big selling points is that he’s never had a complaint. How could he? All his customers are dead or in comas. Now there’s a business plan.

Sex, medicine and money are the three big junk mail themes. Apparently, no one with an email address is getting enough of these three things — or, if they are, they’re paying too much for them. So when you see an email for half-price Viagra, it’s a spam trifecta: sex, medicine and money, all in one email.

Not that there is any getting away from ED. The commercials are all the same: A guy in good shape, about 45, is windsurfing or rock climbing or cycling or jogging. He couldn’t be in better shape; he couldn’t be more attractive. But he suffers from a horrible affliction that I had never thought of as a big problem until Viagra was advertised on TV in 1999 in a commercial starring Bob Dole, who never mentioned the product.

It’s odd that now impotence can be talked about a thousand times a day on TV, but I feel awkward mentioning it here, because people will write letters saying how disappointed they are to read about this kind of filth in a family newspaper. Because, as we all know, the family that reads the newspaper together — hey! Would you stop sexting and listen to me? I’m over here! Look down!

Watching ED commercials with the sound off, you’d think the companies were selling a cure for rock climbing, surfing, cycling, jogging, cooking or gardening. And while a cure for those activities is desperately needed and would no doubt improve countless lives, that’s not the drug that’s being sold. It is a cure for a condition that, in many cases, is caused by consuming too much beer and/or watching too much TV instead of exercising.

How many windsurfers and rock climbers suffer from ED compared with men whose only exercise is climbing in and out of their cars when they go to the doctor who is treating their adult-onset diabetes? And then to Hooters for lunch?

Why do I never get spam telling men there’s a free cure for some cases of ED? All you have to do is take a shower and shave and stop walking around the house in dirty sweatpants. Coming home sober, washing the dishes and cleaning the bathroom without being asked have been known to work, too. But who is going to spam you with that? There’s no money in it.

Jim Mullen’s newest book is called “Kill Me, Elmo: The Holiday Depression Fun Book.” You can reach him at

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