Dear Tell All: I loved your response to the email spammer ("A Spam Romance," 10/22/2010). I can't believe all the time and energy we waste battling spam. Does anyone really fall for that stuff? Most spammers can't write or spell, and you can spot the scams from a mile away. So what's the point?
Dear Fed Up: I agree about the poor spelling and grammar, but occasionally I'll get some spam that surprises me. A few weeks ago I got an email with this subject line: "Reticent 18-y.o. seductresses demonstrating pulchritudinous E-cups." Pulchritudinous. Clearly this is an educated man, or at least someone who takes pride in his work.
Let's break this down: "Reticent 18-y.o. seductresses." Now I don't know about you, but when I'm fantasizing about 18-year-old seductresses, I don't want them to be reticent. Ravenous perhaps, or sex-starved, but definitely not reticent.
"Pulchritudinous." Pulchritudinous means physically beautiful or comely, which begs the question, if we've already got the word comely in the English language, why do we need a mouthful like pulchritudinous?
"E-cups." Well, anything more than a handful is wasted. But you have to give this guy credit for trying. I get the idea he's written thousands of these things, is getting a little bored and is just starting to find his own, unique voice.
I get a lot of spam with harsh, negative subjects, like "Nasty flea-bitten whores." Really? Why would I want to look at nasty flea-bitten whores? Now if they were pulchritudinous whores, I might be interested, but they totally lost me with flea-bitten.
My all-time favorite is "Dick so big she'll think it's a third leg." Unless you're having balance problems on your weekly pub crawl and need the extra stability that a third leg would provide, this seems a tad impractical. Yes, size matters, but you also want to fit into a pair of Levis.
Back to your question: Does anyone fall for this stuff? Despite all the publicity and warnings about fraud - like the Nigerian scam I made fun of in my previous column - the answer is yes. Reuters reported that Americans lost $720 million to such advance-fee scams in 2005 alone, and Britons lost another $520 million. Some people are so convinced the schemes are real that they actually travel to Nigeria to claim their money - where, of course, they don't have a third leg to stand on.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? write tell all, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.