May 31

When I was a kid I loved Spam. My ideal lunch was Spam and pickle toasted sandwiches. Sadly, in these modern times, the word “spam” refers to something far more sinister (and far less tasty): unsolicited email.

Most days I get about a hundred or so emails, only a few of which I actually want. Lately I have been getting a lot of spam relating to fake watches, which makes me wonder if we are seeing a shift away from the popular penis enlargement spam genre.

In the interest of science I went through my unsolicited emails and sorted them into categories. I intended to go through one week’s worth, but got tired of it and stopped at 200. The results are shown in the colourful bar chart below (y-axis is % of total, n = 200):

It’s clear that penis-related spam (Viagra, penis enlargement etc.) is still way out front, followed by the recent fake watch phenomenon which is fast catching up. I still get lots of spam about pharmaceutical products and various other scams (password phishing etc). “Legitimate spam” refers to mailouts by Amazon, Borders and the like, which I really should opt out of as I always delete them instantly.

Imagine for a moment that I am the average internet user. I am male. (I can’t recall ever seeing an email that suggested I get my vagina enlarged, shrunk, or reconstructed in any way.) The most important thing to me is to “supersize my schlong”. I want a pill that will give me “incredible gains in length and thickness”. Once my sex life is in order, I really would like to know what the time is, preferably by consulting my replica Rolex or Breitling timepiece. I want to quit smoking and lose weight for summer. I want to gamble and buy cheap software. A career means little to me, although I am happy to get the edge on my rivals via the purchase of a fake diploma.

Maybe it’s time for me to address my spam problem, before it gets seriously out of hand. Apparently Bill Gates gets about four million emails per year, mostly spam. Jef Poskanzer, owner of the domain acme.com, claims to receive over a million spam emails per day!

Hmm, it’s almost lunchtime. Wonder if there’s any Spam in the fridge…