Sweet Nothings From The Spam Box
By Hannah Daly
My spam box seems to be earnestly concerned with my future, my happiness, my professional success, my financial stability, my penis size and if I need any Generic XANAX, VALIUM, AMBIEN, ATIVAN, ADIPEX! No prescription required to chill out after work. At a time in my life when the first few of those, even maybe sometimes the last, seem complicated, overwhelming, and all-too-upon-me, the offers spam makes excite me. Reading the awkwardly constructed, horrifically designed reassurances of a spam message gets me to stop for a second before I click the ‘Delete All’ button.
Like the meat product from which it gets the name, spam is a special sort of deception. The promise sounds great: it’s easy, it knows us inside and out, all we could ever possibly desire is right there within the particulars of its offer. Spam knows how complicated my life is most of the time and has made it simple for me. Spam must know how much I toss and turn at night, lurching awake with micro-panic attacks, because not only will it help me get a better night’s sleep, but start living! Spam has culled an overwhelming marketplace to find me simply the best in patio furniture, electronics, vitamins, and eye surgery. There’s a better world out there somewhere, one where I am skinny, a US citizen, with perfect young skin, surrounded by flirty friends and my loved ones and family. I can finally enjoy the life I have always dreamed of!
There’s a kind of just-around-the-corner tenuousness spam preaches. Everything is all right there, if only you reach for it. And it is oh-so-simple. All a spam message asks of me is to just:
and commit to one more of the slight movements of one finger, a routine action I perform so much every day I don’t even think about it. If the swirling print etched into the tip of my finger would make the leap, believe, and push out the minutest amount of pressure on the shiny silver rectangle beneath it, I could be happy. Maybe forever.
Sometimes there are supposed people behind the bizarre language of a spam message. Floyd Hanigan wishes me good luck. Oscar Whaley hopes his advice will be useful. Miss Helez Quenzie wants me to know that it is God Almighty that connects people and makes out of them whatsoever he desires. I want so badly to believe in people. Who are these characters that seek out my inbox? Grand narratives build in my head. We all need help sometimes.
But one must step back, intake information critically, and read the nutritional label. You’ll realize what seems like such a promising commitment is really a veiled mash-up of refuse, of half-truths, of things probably not so good for you after all. If I do trust you, spam, you’ll probably destroy my hard drive, rob me blind, break my heart and not do anything noticeable about my penis.
Spam reminds me: joint venture partnerships that will bring me a better life happen outside of the four walls of the screen. It takes a lot more effort than clicking to connect. Promises that really matter can never be deleted.
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