E-mail can be quite hazardous

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 14, 2002

This is ridiculous.

I get too much e-mail and I don't like it.

Ever since my e-mail address was posted on the newspaper's web site, I get all sorts of unsolicited junk e-mail.

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Everybody knows they call it "spam," which, I think insults one of the finest canned luncheon meats ever made.

"You have been approved for a cash grant amount ranging from $10,000 to $5 million from the U.S. government. Click here."

Like Uncle Sam is going to give me millions of dollars. That only happens to politicians.

"As seen on NBC, CBS and CNN, and even Oprah! The health discovery that actually reverses aging while burning fat, without dieting or exercise. Click here."

I go to the sauerkraut supper at Christ Episcopal Church once a year to do that.

"Mortgage rates have dropped again" … "New book brings hopes and makes life easier for those with autism, digestive and related neurological disorders" … "Paying too much for life insurance. Click here to save 70 percent on your policy" … Click here."

And, those are the harmless ones. There are others, too.

(Warning: No one under 18 or living within the city limits of Adams should read any further!)

Apparently, I fit some demographics category that entitles me to receive pornography.

It's described as

"VERY GRAPHIC MATERIAL" …. "MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY" … "HARDCORE." The invitations come in all-capital letters so I won't ignore them and just in case I didn't notice the pictures of naked females.

"WANT SEX? FIND A WOMAN NOW AT SEX2GO." shouted another one. It came with a testimonial from Allison G. in Orlando, Fla., who -- I kid you not -- "found a secret lover on the web site and it totally changed my life."

Why Allison didn't take night classes at a local community college, I'll never know.

"HOT MOVIES" … "EROTIC STORIES" … the assault in capital letters and titillating pictures goes on.

And on and on and on.

There are e-mail solicitations for sending messages, soliciting services and selling products.

"Would you like to have your message seen by over 14.8 million targeted prospects daily? We will supply you with over 14.8 million opt-in email addresses to get started right away."

Can newspapers, radio and television top those circulation figures? I don't think so.

If you want to get rid of it, all you have to do is to "click here" and enter your email address to remove your email from future offers.

A likely story, I'm sure.

The fact that you received the e-mail by either requesting more information -- I swear to God and St. Thomas I didn't! -- or because someone added your e-mail address on an e-mailing list suggests just how difficult it will be to stop the e-mail from coming.

It's like telemarketing. Once you're on a list you're there for life.

When I told my friends at the Austin Daily Herald I was going to save the crazy e-mails and write about them, they shrugged their shoulders and said "Everybody gets them."

Also, there's the distinct possibility now that I've complained about junk e-mail, I will get more junk e-mail.

I'm all for the First Amendment and the freedom to express one's self.

And, I'm not naive. Hey now! I was in the Navy. I've seen a lot.

It's just that I don't like this electronic stuff from cyberspace invading my life.

And, people in the office are looking at me like I'm weird.

I swear I never clicked here!

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at :mailto:lee.bonorden@austindailyherald.com