Machine Design

Answering my spam

A lot of people I don't know send me e-mail. Friends tell me this unsolicited mail is called spam.

View other Ron
Khol editorials

View Ron's Blog and comment on this article on the Machine Design Forums.

They think I should get irritated by it. But I can't get upset. My Earthlink Internet service does a good job of filtering spam. Earthlink throws it in a wastebasket that I can peruse at my leisure. Then with a single keystroke I can trash all of it.

Every now and then some spam slips past Earthlink and ends up in my inbox. But I'm a clever fellow. When I see that someone named Brice Dixon has mailed me about my being nominated for an MBA, I am pretty sure that it is spam, and I don't open the message.

On the other hand, I am sometimes racked by doubt. I wonder if some of the stuff filtered out as spam was really legitimate mail. Maybe there are dozens of people with names like Wesley, Lionel, or Merle who have sent me e-mail I shouldn't have ignored.

For the past week I have kept track of people sending me spam. Their concerns mostly fall into a few categories. People frequently try to reach me about meetings I haven't scheduled or interviews I haven't granted. Others are giving me invitations, asking for information, or sending information. Not wanting to be considered a rude fellow who ignores his mail, I'll now issue responses to last week's spam based on what was in the subject lines. And I am ignoring all the offers of lowcost loans, pharmaceuticals, and products alluding to amorous adventures, solitary or otherwise.

To Manuela Conklin, Merle Tripp, Sophie Lanier, Alan Banks, Charles Glass, and Tana Turner, I won't be at the meetings you mention. Brant Woods, I can't confirm the appointment with Gail. To Louis Swartze, I never agreed to the interview you are expecting. Leslie Sexton, its OK if Lindsey is going to be late because I am not going to be there. Edmond Shultz, I never opened the formal invitation from Trent. Gregory Babb, even though Victor asked you to call me, I don't think we have anything to discuss. Carol Allred, ditto for Trisha asking you to call me. Wesley W. Bernard, I don't know what situation you want me to clarify.

To Cathy Singh, even though Irvin asked you to send mail to me, Earthlink figured it was spam and put it in the trash. To Weekend Helpers, ditto the information you sent. Dino, I don't know what it is that you want me to confirm, and I never will because I never opened your e-mail. Lawanda Hyatt, I am sorry but I can't give you the authorization you need. Next time try asking me by some means other than spam. Trinadad Ayala, I can't verify whatever you want verified. Jeff Kidd, Earthlink trashed your e-mail even though Debbie asked you to forward it to me. And Barbara Saldana, I can't go over Fabian's budget today. May Castle, I am not interested in Payment N382722685. Wanda Tidwell, ditto for my code #QK0656. Randall Bolick, I am not going to let you know what I think.

Even the phishers are active. I don't have an account with Smith Barney, so I am not going to send in updated information. The same goes for Wells Fargo Customer Support. I don't have an account with you, so I'm not going to contact you about transaction security. But I have some mail from Tyeshia Coard that I might save for a while. The subject says she owes me one. That might be worth thinking about.

Ok, let's get serious for a moment. If these spammers want to use names and subject lines that might fool me into opening their e-mail, I suggest they use names and subjects somewhat plausible for me. For example, I might be inclined to open mail from Machete Eddy about the smack I ordered. Or from Stanley Koznowski about the stolen AMC Pacer we're trying to unload in Mexico. Forget people named Conklin, Tripp, and Lanier, along with all those phony meetings. Give me names and activities that sound real.

-- Ronald Khol, Editor
Send feedback to MDeditor @

TAGS: Archive
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.