These days, my inbox usually consists of stuff that either I have either subscribed to or that people I actually know have sent me. My ISP has done a sterling job of making sure that the soiled tide of junk e-mail that slops around the Internet passes me by.


I found myself getting nostalgic about all those wonderful offers I used to receive, such as the offers to enlarge certain parts of my anatomy. (It occurred to me that had I taken advantage of all of these I would need a wheelbarrow just to get down to the shops.) I shall never now hear how that poor man in Africa got on trying to get his money clear of the oppressive authorities in his country. I was always touched at his generous attitude in offering me such a large cut, simply for being a go-between.

I miss being offered car registrations that look like my name if I squint at it and use a lot of imagination, all for £500, what a bargain!

Now that the spam no longer reaches me, it takes far less time to wade through my inbox, and on the whole, this is a good thing. Despite the efforts of the authorities to control spam, you could liken it to a sack full of wet mud; when you plug one leak, it simply starts again in another place.

The Internet is all things to all people. My neighbors believe that it exists for two reasons: first they are fanatical researchers of their family tree, and second they are the world’s worst for recycled, funny e-mail forwarding. Only yesterday, they forwarded the clip about the U.S. warship demanding that an Irish lighthouse alter course for them. That story is wrong in so many respects; the very thought of a U.S. Navy skipper in the Irish Sea is laughable. Even worse, radar screens aren’t that hard to read that you couldn’t tell land from shipping.

For other people, the Internet is for shopping, and they spend many hours hunting for bargains. In my last office-based job we had unlimited Internet access, mainly for research purposes, but this turned out to be one of the biggest time wasters of all time.

Although annoying, spam is something that defines the Internet and has provided many a chuckle over the years. On the whole I’m glad not to have endless quantities of rubbish in my inbox, although sometimes I miss the funnier and more outlandish attempts to part me from my meager reserves of cash. What are/were your favorite spam e-mails?