There’s something strange in my inbox

I’ve been getting some peculiar e-mails lately.

I realize this does not set me apart in any way. Let’s face it, if you have access to a computer and the Weird Wide Internet thingie – and that takes in about 85 percent of us – you’re going to get some e-mails that raise your eyebrows, with subjects ranging from untold riches awaiting in Nigerian bank accounts to methods of enlarging (or diminishing) various body parts, to faucets. No kidding. I get a lot of messages about faucets.

It all comes back to something I’ve repeated at the dinner table every Thanksgiving for the last (mumble) years: Give us humans an amazing piece of technology, and we’ll find a way to abuse it. Invent the car, we’ll run it into a tree. Put the telephone in widespread use, and immediately someone will start calling during supper to ask for money. Come up with TV, and you’ll get 600 channels with nothing worth watching.

We can’t help it. We are attracted to shiny things, but our first impulse always seems to be figuring out ways to take the shine off of them. So it is with computers. Give us a way to communicate instantaneously with people practically anywhere in the world, and the first thing some sub-humans are going to do is try an e-mail scam. And it must work, or they wouldn’t keep doing it again and again and again. Scam artists don’t beat dead horses. They move on until they find a live one, so to speak.

Anyway, back to my e-mail.

It should be apparent that I am used to a certain amount of weirdness in my inbox. In fact, I may be more accustomed to it than most, just by virtue of not being wired the same as an average human. I have a deep appreciation for the weird and tend to seek it out, rather than sitting back and waiting for it to find me. One look at my circle of friends should confirm that. Even so, occasionally something comes in over the transom that is unusual, even for me, and that gets me back to the beginning: I’ve been getting some peculiar e-mails lately. I open my mailbox and there they are.

The sender: “Bra.”

That’s all it says. Just “Bra.”

The subject: “Buying a bra? Check out these tips.”

Wow. Did they get a wrong number. Not only am I not in the market, I’m not planning to need that information for … oh, let’s say ever. I feel like writing back:

Dear Bra: Thanks so much for your recent e-mail. It was very thoughtful of you to assume that I would need some tips about buying you, seeing as how I am a guy and can honestly say that this is one thing I know absolutely nothing about purchasing. However, upon reflection I have determined that I would like to keep it this way. Your pal, Mike. P.S. If you see your friend Faucets, tell him that I’m not interested in what he’s selling, either. Thanks.

That should do it, don’t you think? Then I can go use the one feature of e-mail technology that I have come to appreciate most deeply – the delete button. But not before I claim all those riches awaiting me in Nigeria.