Thursday, August 18, 2011

Don’t Knock the Spam

Winter Daze

Ah Spam, friend of the friendless. It has the same role in life as late night shopping channels. When I don’t blog that’s all I get and it’s not all bad. On some days it’s the only contact with the outside world that I have.  I wouldn’t call it human contact. Usually it’s an automatic do –not-reply mailing that goes to thousands of others who might also once have had a momentary lapse of vigilance and signed on, accidently responded to a quiz or a customer survey  or forgot to untick the subscribe box.   

Today there’s a loyalty voucher from a clothing shop, another lot of specials from a bee keeping place whom I once asked about keeping bees – Need a cheap veil and smoker anyone?, Friends Reunited telling me about exciting new developments and Jetstar offering amazingly cheap flights to places you may never have heard of. I notice these do not include return flights. I get it – its $150 to get there, plus $500 in airport fees and fuel surcharges and $3,500 to get back, plus taxes, airport fees (they are probably still building it), $200 insurance for lost luggage and extra for your own air traffic controller and two badminton bats.

My sister did send me an actual letter. She felt sorry for me when I told her that the only mail I get these days has windows in it, so she thought it might be a nice change. Younger folk may not know about sending letters, but it was a quaint custom whereby people wrote by hand on bits of paper, carefully folded them and put them into envelopes and stuck on stamps, then walked them to the Post Office or a mail box -those mysterious red things that you can still see in a few older suburbs- and trusted to the miracle of Australia Post that one day they might be delivered. This added an extra dimension of mystery and excitement that Tweeters and Texters will never know. Like messages in bottles, you just never knew where or when your messages might turn up. Why only the other day I received a Christmas card dated 1983 from an uncle who died in 1989.[In fairness, I must admit that I have moved two or three times since then and this went to one of my old addresses].

 Imagine the thrill then, when you learned that somehow your good friend from Primary School had received your important message telling her about the new PE teacher you had a crush on five years ago, before he was charged with molesting minors and had to leave. It’s from hard copy such as this, that we craft history and biographies and feel that we really know something of  a person’s  character, though just as well handwriting analysis has fallen out of favour along with phrenology and reading entrails or people would think that when I write it’s from a drunk, psychotic left -handed chook on stilts. Somehow I can’t imagine all that happening with Tweets and SMSs, especially with that damn intuitive texting, though it could prove more entertaining.

There are even some days when I regret putting up the No Junk Mail sticker. You can tell a lot about society from its advertising material, not to mention acquiring a lust for things you never thought you needed such as a Meerkat Rain Gauge or a Donkey Salt and Pepper Shaker, a beer glass shaped like an upside down beer bottle or an amazing range of orthopaedic supports.

Yep! Bring on the Spam. It’s all the light reading I have left.

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