• 41°

From Here To 'E-ternity'

In today’s computer-dominated world it’s not unusual to start the day feeling “trashed.”

Yes, those who venture into e-mail land on a regular basis know exactly what I’m talking about. We all love that little icon on the screen labeled “trash.” Well over half of the e-mails that come into my office every day end up there.

I will have to admit that sorting through all these errant e-mails occasionally makes me a bit out-of-sorts. In the good old days junk mail seldom made its way into the workplace. Now it’s part of our work to get rid of it.

Adding to the annoyance is the real threat of computer viruses. I understand “flim-flam” schemes, but the idea that a computer can actually “catch” a virus is beyond my technological comprehension. Apparently these viruses are real — as real as the IRS.

One morning recently I received an e-mail from the IRS marked “URGENT — please respond at once!” I had to check the urge to check it out when I saw an attachment marked “important personal information.” The message hinted of “irregularities” and “tax penalties” that threatened to take what might be left of my after-tax income.

It was only 9 a.m. and my brain was being taxed the IRS!

But then I looked at the message heading: “Dear Social.”

Ah-ha!

They were after Ms. Social, my Herald alter ego. The only “return” this phony IRS message might deliver is a computer virus. With a smile I hit the delete button and let Mr. Trash Can deal with the IRS.

With an e-mail address that includes the words “social” and “lifestyles” I receive many interesting messages that reflect our contemporary society. Just last week, for instance, I received an e-mail titled “Ten Tips For a Kinky Valentine’s Day” — a real eye-opener even without that first cup of coffee. Let’s just say that this ten-step program will not make it into the Herald’s pages.

On a related subject, I do wish my e-mailers would at least attempt to be gender-specific. Every morning I send at least a dozen Viagra promotions in Mr. Trash Can’s direction. Maybe he doesn’t get tired of them, but I do. (I am tempted to tell those folks in the bathtubs that sitting outside like that in the all-together isn’t altogether such a good idea. What about low-flying planes, UPS drivers — and that neighbor who stops by for a cup of coffee? That coffee chat would be interesting to say the least.

And speaking of least, weight loss is a weighty topic in today’s world of e-mail messaging. It’s a good thing Mr. Trash Can doesn’t have to get on a scale like the rest of us — he’s sure to gain a pound or two every day from all the weight loss missives I send his way.

Other e-mail products offer to turn back the clock. “Don’t miss the train on this one,” one e-mail promotion promised. “Our product will take your body back to the age of 20 in just six weeks!”

Folks who’ve ridden that train the number of decades I’ve been onboard would probably agree that the 20-year stop would not be the place to get off. Of course, if you have the unlimited wealth that e-land promises, age wouldn’t make that much difference.

Last week alone I was the lucky winner of four lotteries in Italy, London, South Africa, and The Netherlands, not to mention a 14 million $258,000 bequest from a dying woman named Maria. Maria was writing from an undisclosed location but noted that she would gladly accept my personal information through g-mail.

“Gee,” or even “Golly, gee!” might be the appropriate response. I can’t help but remember an oft-repeated adage from my childhood: “You never get something for nothing!” When you get right down to it, “nothing” is what these e-mail schemers are after — the “nothing” you’ll end up with in your bank account once you answer their requests.

If I could offer a bit of advice to the writers of e-mail scams, it would be this: use proper grammar! This example came in last week’s mail: “Hello, you can earn your college degree from us in just 10 months — if you can speak english good.” The e-mail doesn’t say what type of degree one could earn, but it would obviously not be from the English Department.

Considering all the above, it’s no wonder that I gladly share my computer with the trashy little fellow on the screen. I love to see his little sides bulge each time I send another useless missive off into “e-ternity.”

Fortunately for us, from here to “e-ternity” isn’t far.

All it takes to get there is a little button labeled “delete.”