Monday, spam and how my brother killed my email address

Posted in Unwelcomed notions published for no obvious reason on October 26th, 2009 by Jeppe Grünberger

So it was Monday again. It really shouldn’t keep surprising me that this happens, but somehow the arrival of Monday keeps sneaking up on me. This time my week started with a revisit from an old friend that I had almost forgotten: the porn-spammer. One of the emails in this mornings inbox informed that I was but a single click away from enjoying the virtual company of a delightfully charming, seemingly female character who was hung like a horse. I politely declined, but it got me thinking about a tragedy of my youth: the story of how I lost my first ever email address.

It happened during the end of the nineties in a conflict similar in type, if not in scale, to the Cold War. My older brother and I (being the respective representatives of The Warsaw Pact and NATO of course) were involved in some sort of debate that, for reasons lost in time, caused me to strain the fragile state of truth in our household with a minor threat. I informed my brother that, if he were not careful, I would sign his email up for an online, rather graphic newsletter concerning same-sex relations between young male adults. One must remember that this was a time when spam-filters were about as effective as the American Star Wars defense project of the late 1980s, and that the internet was still something you called on the phone and spoke to in the strange, hizzing and screeching language of modems. So, the prospect of receiving more than a megabyte of imagery concerning dubious subjects involved in explicit physical activities was not altogether pleasant.

My brother, stunned at first by the audacity of my new tactic, soon informed me that there would really be nothing preventing him from returning the favor. Well, no sooner had I invented this new weapon before my adversary caught up and presented the option for total retaliation. So, I thought, it would be back to the drawing board – no reason to actually carry the threat out seeing as neither of us really had any interest in becoming the victim of such a ploy. But alas, my brother and I were still teenagers, and we weren’t ready to manage a conflict of this sensitive type.

So the next day I began receiving emails concerning young ladies whose bust size was rivaled only by the size of their male genitalia. I was rather surprised at this (in many ways), especially since I had not signed my brother up for anything similar yet. Inquiries soon confirmed my suspicions of  a preemptive strike carried out by my brother the evening before, fearing that I would otherwise strike first. Now I had to retaliate, of course, and so the tragedy unfolded with both our email-addresses as innocent casualties.

This story clearly shows two things… well, perhaps not clearly, but then at least remotely. The first is that the world was fortunate not to have me and my brother in charge of the two superpowers of the Cold War. The second is that even though we may have forgotten about the porn-spammer, he has not gone away. He was there when the internet grew up and he will occasionally, like Mondays, return to catch us off guard – reminding us of the sordid truth behind the ever cleaner and more respectable technology called the internet. A truth never expressed better than by the words of this great character:

I’m fairly sure that if they took all the porn off the Internet, there’d only be one website left… and it would be called Bring Back The Porn.” – Dr. Perry Cox