One of my computer rituals is the periodic deletion of spam. My rather primitive e-mail program, courtesy of the University of Massachusetts [the one post-retirement benefit] does not allow me to delete the entire collection with one series of key strokes, so I must go through them tediously, deleting one page at a time. A typical several days' collection runs to seven or eight pages.
Some while ago, while performing this chore, I noticed an e-mail message I actually wanted lodged between greetings from Nigerians who needed my help to extract several million dollars from a frozen bank account, so now I run my eye quickly down each page before I delete, just to be sure there is nothing I need look at. As a result, I keep a running tab on what is hot in spam.
The Nigerians, as I say, are always with us. Yesterday, there were also half a dozen beautiful Russian women looking for husbands. And of course there are the scams that begin "My dear," which I assume are variations on the Nigerian millions. Since spammers are the most liberated and gender-neutral of all those who inhabit the cloud, I receive regular offers to enhance the size of both my breasts and my penis, as well as offers of cut-rate drugs from Canada guaranteed to correct erectile dysfunction and vaginal dryness. And of course there are the urgent messages ostensibly from banks, credit card companies, and PayPal, warning me of the dangers of identity theft and asking me for my name, address, credit card number, and password so that they can protect me. All of these messages, and many more, I view with tolerance or even a wry enjoyment. So many people out there so determined to separate me from my money, and so imaginative in their approaches. But there is one regular occupant of my spam file that fills me with righteous anger, one message that I take as a direct and unforgivable insult. That is the offer of an on-line doctorate.
Do they have no idea whom they are talking to? Does my entire life have no meaning? Could these unprincipled rascals not take the brief moment it would have cost them to ascertain that I have an EARNED doctorate from a respectable institution?
As the late great Rodney Dangerfield would have said, I don't get no respect.