The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bet they line up for you, too

by Tricia Dower

Every morning, when I fire up the computer, twenty to forty new friends are waiting for me. More show up throughout the day. I delete most of their messages unread, but occasionally I peek at the fabulous opportunities I’m missing.

Savannah Whitman is ready to give me a loan. Likewise Buddy Savage who goes on to say, “Your credit report doesn’t matter to us!” That hurts me a little. Buddy’s offer is for $51,000, no strings attached, but I have to hurry because, “this offer will expire THIS NIGHT.” Buddy likes caps. He wants me to telephone him.

Dolly Mathieu says China You TV Corp (now trading at 46 cents) is going to explode!

Caleb McCollum is selling knock-offs Rolexes. Years ago a friend traveled to Hong Kong and brought me back a bogus Cartier. The band was too big for my scrawny wrist so I took it to a jeweler to have a link or two removed. He said he’d have to send it out to a Cartier specialist. What was I thinking? I had nightmares about being arrested for possession of counterfeit goods. With great dread, I returned when the watch was ready. “No charge for a Cartier,” the jeweler said. “Visit us again.”

Tdonald (don’t you hate it when people hide behind a first initial?) wonders if I’m ready to hit the jackpot waiting for me on the Web. “Real Vegas is just a click away” and I am eligible for free start-up credit of up to $1,000.

Various generically described acquaintances such as “uncle,” or “neighbour” or “worshipper,” yet, send me greeting cards, even when it’s not my birthday. I don’t click on the site provided to read them because these generic friends and relatives are pranksters. They want to infect my computer with a worm. Back in high school, they were planting cherry bombs in lockers.

It’s astounding how many total strangers share intimate details with me. Margaret Burt, for example, writes, “I just started having sex, and my boyfriend keeps popping out when we do it.” Goodness! In an amazing coincidence, the same thing happened to Janice Bogg. Beatrice Pryor is nothing but a gossip. She says, “Paris Hilton likes them big.” Logos Wilbert confides he’s having an affair with a family friend and “she thinks I am a god.” I have the look, I think, that makes people want to spill their guts. Somehow, Margaret and the others are able to discern that without even seeing me. They may be psychic like Jenna, just Jenna, who feels something “new and powerful” about my situation and wants to do a reading for me.

Francis Gregg thanks me for being a customer of a Canadian pharmacy. But I’m not a customer. Francis is not psychic.

Some e-mailers pretend to be banks. They are worse than the cherry bombers. They ask me to update my personal info and open files labelled “dividend statement” or “payment approved.” These messages never come from a bank I actually use. They come from banks with poor grammar.

I love the names and save them as possibilities for fictional characters: Tuttle Brock. Whalen Casey. Cherry Diaz. Riley Fisher. Nellie Grimes. Jeri Hatch. Evangeline Herndon. Humphrey C. Hinton. Reed Kent. Adrienne Wolfe. Edith Gore. According to Google, real people own some of these names. People who probably would be horrified to learn they’re promising better erections or instant riches. I wonder if Tricia Dower is out there making a nuisance of herself. Whatever she’s hawking, I hope her spelling and grammar are impeccable.

Images: by Romanian visual artist Alex Dragulescu who creates art from e-mail. These are from his Spam Plants collection, generated from the ASCII values found in the text of spam messages. In another series called Space Architecture, he and his software translate various patterns, keywords and rhythms found in the text into three-dimensional modeling gestures. Visit his site. ACT NOW! This offer won’t be repeated.


Blogger Anne C. said...

I love this.

Thu Aug 16, 06:55:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew said...


Thu Aug 16, 09:04:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew said...

And also, Tricia, this artist is amazing! Such fascinating ideas and the results are really gorgeous to look at- sometimes the former doesn't always lead to the later! But here it does in spades. Thanks for sharing his work with us.

Thu Aug 16, 09:12:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger MelBell said...

I love this post, Tricia. And those images are stunning. Talk about making lemonade from lemons. Or something. I going to be seeing spam in a whole new light from now on, thanks to you!

Thu Aug 16, 10:23:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Great post, Tricia. Sad, though, that for every million of us, there are those few who actually click where they shouldn't. Blooming idiots!

Thu Aug 16, 03:02:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

This is great! And however did you find those spam plants? Fascinating.

Thu Aug 16, 03:19:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Thanks folks. Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, the images are something else. I found them (and eventually Alex's site) when I went looking for images of Spam the food.

Thu Aug 16, 05:30:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

What a cool idea for art! After years of fiddling, I have managed to get most of the junk email I receive filtered to the right places. but, someday, spam will win out.

Thu Aug 16, 06:09:00 pm GMT-4  

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