The Devil Finds Work for Idle Hands

Facing an editorial deadline and desperate for some way to procrastinate, I decided it was the right time to clean out my spam folder. Since my computer deletes all spam automatically every 30 days, there were only a few hundred missives.

After deleting the redundant messages – “Immediate attention: Your email has been hacked…”, I read over the expressions of love, lust, satisfaction, concern, prospective wealth, health advice as well as the threats to my reputation and savings.

The health messages ran the gamut from offers of Viagra, CBD, cancer cures and “Blood of the Mountain” heart attack prevention oils. The most compelling messages promised to “power-wash my arteries,” and “reprogram my cancer cells with a 100% remission guarantee.”

One of my favorite was from Doctor Tinnitus. M.D., offering “a weird spice to put into my ear to end the buzzing, but my hearing is such that, if I did have tinnitus, I wouldn’t hear it.

My struggle has always been food, so I was intrigued to hear that “Lisa lost 80 lbs. just by consuming “a weird, thick syrup,” that I, too, can buy. Online pharmacies offered countless medical nostrums. I was beset with offers for cheap life insurance despite my advanced age and online loans “despite my bad credit,” which I didn’t know I had.

I did get a “Notice of a confidential shipment from the U.S. Postal Service.” The return address of the U.S.P.S., I was surprised to learn, was Hong Kong.

Adelina, Zaniya, and Miriam (who promised to make my “woody” marvelous) have all expressed the desire to “get to know me better.” My uncle had a ‘37 Ford woody that we all got to ride in for 4th of July parade but I’m not positive Miriam meant the same thing. Other caring people have offered to cure my erectile dysfunction. I assume they’re alluding to my poor carpentry skills.

I was intrigued by the eight-year-old girl named Lisa who had a secret that “made her $490,000 in a few weeks.” She didn’t volunteer her secret, nor did I ask.

Stefan Rev from Slovenia and several devout Christian ladies from Africa, who signed their emails “yours in the Lord,” wrote to notify me that a friend and client had left me $10 million dollars but I’m no fool; I’ve been getting the pale blue onionskin par avion letters from Nigeria for 40 years. I’m not that easily taken in, though I’m often tempted.

I was also offered a free-walk-in bathtub evaluation. But doesn’t the water flow out onto the floor when you open the door? I was also offered a free-walk-in bathtub evaluation but doesn’t the water flow out onto the floor when you open the door? And then “How to cure Psoriasis permantely?” Does a spell-checker come with the psoriasis cure?

Perhaps the most disturbing email explained that my computer had been hacked and malware had been implanted that turned on my video camera and photographed me in compromising situations in my bedroom and, unless I deposited $996 immediately into Bitcoin account # 47a99#gFhx#222*cc!4ll5d73, these repulsive images would be transmitted to my entire address book. I was given 24 hours to respond.

Having gotten about a dozen of the same email and not yet having heard from any friends about my repulsive behaviors, I have to assume I’m safe – at least for now.