What The ... ?!!!

What The … ?!!

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E-mail, just like everything else, keeps evolving.
I loved this way of communicating from the first moment I started using it in the early 1990s. No need for stamps, no need for long phone conversations when a simple message would do and no need to ask “How do you spell that?”
What I didn’t love was the first wave of annoyance that came with the late 20th century version of the telegraph: chain letters, hoaxes and the proliferation of urban legends. Forward this e-mail to seven people or you’ll have bad luck for a year! Sign this petition to keep Congress from repealing the right to be a Christian! I once had a co-worker e-mail all 150 people in the company, perpetuating an urban legend about killers who cut unsuspecting women’s hamstrings from beneath their cars at gas station pumps.
Ugh.
Finally, for whatever reason, that trend faded away. Did a brand of e-mail etiquette take hold? Did Aunt Mildred get tired of young Johnny telling her to @#$% off with her loony conspiracy theories?
Still, those days were far rosier than the next phase in e-mail evolution: the inundation of scams and solicitations. This, of course, gave rise to labeling the influx of junk as “spam.”
No matter how much money you sent to any number of Nigerian princes, you weren’t going to be able to collect that promised $10 million in gold bullion. No, you didn’t magically win the European lottery.
You couldn’t really buy a for-reals Rolex for $50 and turn around and sell it for $5,000. The barely legal teen porn … well, that unfortunately was likely all too often real. Ugh. It was a nightmare inundation of things you didn’t want and often wished you’d never heard of.
Now? My Gmail inbox that captures both work and personal e-mail is almost entirely deserted of spam. Finally we seem to have entered a golden age of filters that work 99.99 percent of the time.
The problem? Adjusting the filter in my mind.
I’d gotten used to automatically deleting/reporting spam
e-mail based on certain obvious words or phrases. Anything with “win,” “slut” or “Viagra” in the subject line could be immediately discounted.
So I almost clicked “Report Spam” when I saw the words “Shit Robot.”
Whoops, that e-mail is actually legitimate. Apparently it’s a band that I’m just not hip enough to know about.
I survived chain letters, hoaxes, urban legends and solicitations for porn and erectile dysfunction medicine. I’m still working on a strategy to deal with e-mails featuring crazy band names.

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