Take the power back

Daniel Pike

Despite the e-mailed suggestion of someone named “Dr. Smith,” I have no plans to add inches to my penis.

And while I love many things about the world, “Free pics of drunk and horny moms” are not among them, regardless of what “Kristy” has been led to believe.

Increasingly, I find myself reminiscing about the olden days of e-mail, when the glut of unsolicited messages consisted primarily of two things: 1) a village toddler has been kidnapped by wild elephants and a Nigerian prince needs my bank account number and a preliminary $10,000 donation to fund the rescue, and 2) forwards in which punctuation marks formed the shape of a swan.

These days, the opening of the inbox is a tense occasion. Of the 26 messages the server spits out, maybe three are legitimate. The rest is a kaleidoscope of numerical codes, non-words, sentence fragments, porn, mortgage rates, insurance offers, prescription bargains and computer viruses. It’s an unsettling experience – much like discussing a student film in a room full of rednecks and starched-shirt accountants.

But finally there is a real effort to prevent this crap – called spam, for obvious reason -?and it originates from a most unexpected place.

In a rare moment of clarity, the legislature of the crumbling, bumbling state of California passed a law Tuesday threatening fines of up to $1 million against those who disseminate spam.

I doubt this law will have a noticeable effect on the quantity of unwanted e-mail we receive, but it’s a start. And it should serve as a lesson to the U.S. District Court in Oklahoma.

Proving yet again that no one in this country has the slightest idea what the hell is going on, the court yesterday blocked the Federal Trade Commission’s national do-not-call registry, which was supposed to go into effect Oct. 1.

The lunatics who run California are lucid enough to recognize the inconvenience and inefficiency of unsolicited e-mail. But a similar concept was lost on idiots in Oklahoma, who opted not to can telemarketers like California is attempting to can spammers.

Now, I guess we’ve got to take the power back.

The next time the phone rings in the middle of “Elimidate,” the auto-dial computer routes you to an open line and a lifeless sales rep mumbles into your ear, here’s what you should do:

Expound on the virtues of anatomy enlargement, then tell them that you know a guy – namely, me – who would be more than happy to perform the procedure for free.

I make no guarantee of a successful outcome.

Daniel Pike is the Herald features editor and a senior print journalism major from Glasgow. His column appears on Thursdays. Reach him at [email protected]