My blog site has a function that notifies me by email when someone has submitted a comment on a post so I can moderate and control who comments and what gets posted. This is just one of the safeguards I have in place to fight off the Spambots; and they are relentless. When I first started posting, about a year ago, I would be so thrilled to go to my Email Inbox and find 19 messages that said someone had commented on my post, only to discover that they were all from Russian spammers trying to sell me Viagra.
So now I have an anit-spam Plug-In that seems to be working pretty well. It’s not one of those that require the Captcha box, where you have to type in swirling letters that allegedly make up a word, over and over and over. I am ever-so-grateful for the Captcha boxes that have the “Audio Clue” button, so old farts like me with bad eyes can get a leg up. No, my Anti-Spamming widget lurks quietly in the background, like a muscle-bound Spam Bouncer, ever vigilant, waiting for someone to cause trouble. And, just as your cat will show you that he’s working for a living by leaving a dead mouse on your doormat every morning, when I go to the dashboard on my site, the program gives me the satisfaction of a count of how many incursions it has stopped. If I could, I’d give it a Kitty Treat as a reward.
Because these nasty little robots are as relentless as a Golden Retriever fetching a tennis ball, Spam filters are de rigueur on most email programs. The result being sometimes the message from someone like your Mom, who only uses her email program twice a year, ends up in your junk folder, or Spam folder; and the guilt-inflicting phone message about why you didn’t read her e-mail arrives on your answering machine two days later. Or like today when a REAL email notification about a blog comment ended up in there and I had to venture in to find it.
All this uncertainty necessitates the occasional voyeuristic look at the ugliness that is your Spam Folder on G-Mail. Going in there is like walking into a dark Dive Bar in the middle of the afternoon. As your eyes adjust to the gloom of the dingy, smoky room, you can look around and begin to see all the playas lurking.
Porn Site Spam is over at the end of the bar leering at you through the bottom of her Old Crow on the rocks, patting the empty stool next to her with her hand. Discount-Viagra-Spam is leaning on his elbow with one foot up on the brass rail, 32-inch biceps bulging from his T-Shirt, giving you that look that says “You know you want to be like me, dontcha kid?” (And, incidentally, if I ever had an erection that lasted more than four hours, I wouldn’t just call my doctor, I’d call EVERYBODY!)
Go-Back-To-College-And-Get-Your-Degree-Spam is sipping an expensive Single Malt scotch at a table over against the wall, and looks up at you disapprovingly over the top of his Wall Street Journal. Free-Credit-Report-Spam is running a poker game at the big round booth in the back corner, and nods towards the open spot at the table, trying to lure you into going over and sitting down. And just as you’re thinking “What in the hell am I doing in here?” and telling yourself not to touch anything, the real E-Mail you are looking for is just coming out of the bathroom. You recognize them through the gloom as someone you actually know, and they say, “Come on. Let’s get out of this shit hole.” Suddenly, the “Back” Button on Firefox swings the front door open and, framed in golden sunlight streaming in from the outside world says, “Did someone call a Cab?” Click! You are out, and back to the safe, clean haven of your In-Box, feeling like you need a hot shower.
The relentlessly searching machine that is Google targets your G-Mail content like a Delta Force sniper. Getting you in the cross-hairs, it hits you with a barrage of rogue messages based on its content. It can be a humbling, depressing experience to look at the horrors their Termintator-like Search-Bot has generated for you. Just like looking into someone else’s fridge, or sneaking a peek at the contents of their medicine cabinet when you use the bathroom during a party, a person’s G-Mail Spam Folder can tell you a lot about them. So, according the E-Mails in mine from porn sites, the ones selling Propecia and Cialis, messages about Adult Education, and ads for The Scooter Store, I am an aging, uneducated, horny old guy with mobility issues who can’t get it up without medication; and is going bald. Well, they couldn’t be more wrong! I still have my hair…