Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Finally - a Use for Spam!

Spam first came to my notice as a kid when the United States contribution to winning World War II, prior to Pearl Harbour, consisted of bombarding the British Isles with cans of the stuff along with peanut butter. Under the circumstances, it’s a wonder that I turned into an Americanophile.
To me, Spam always tasted funny (peculiar, not ha-ha) and now that my computer is filled up with it on a daily basis, it doesn’t seem quite so funny – just irritating.
Much huffing and puffing over ways to curb this menace seem to have resulted in a tremendous upsurge in the business and, incidentally, in the business of providing software to counter it.
But nothing works. My internet service provider catches most of it and sometimes stuff which isn’t spam at all but a message from some innocent person who has thoughtlessly included a suspect word in the address. Thus I have the weekly chore of riffling through the files of deleted messages to make sure that nothing has gone astray.
I’m a firm believer in looking for the silver lining and here I think I may have found it. For those who write fictional novels are constantly up against finding names for their characters. Dickens had no end of trouble over this, frequently doodling possible variations in his notes.
But all you have to do now is to run through the list of the names of the spammers that have E-Mailed you. The unsung authors of these messages have an imagination that would have enthralled Hans Christian Andersen. Elvira L. Peascombe is constantly trying to sell me a fake Rolex, Ailsa Samberly hopes that I had a great evening and Donald Hanscombe is sure that he has the solution to my problem. They, and hundreds like them, are in touch with me daily and, whilst I do take exception to the ones that address me as “Hey, bro,” I am sure they’re all very nice and well meaning people.
So, novelists, look no further for inspiration for the names of your characters. They are all there, lurking on your computer, and if you can use them for some thoroughly disreputable character in your book, all the better. It would be no more than they deserve.
This morning’s crop include Ta Stone who “misses me”, Gabriela Clay who wishes to speak with me about something, Luann Gilmore who has some soft Cialis for a mere $2, Berchtold Bang who seems to be in competition, having the same thing on offer and Mullen Olin who says “why look anywhere else” although, as I haven’t read his message, I’m not sure what I should be looking elsewhere for.
And to Katrice Kim, who asks “how happy r u?” may I say thank you for your concern, but quite happy never to hear from you again.
Now I must get down to writing that novel – I’ve got the cast of characters.


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