I wasn’t looking for a new line of work when I stumbled into my career as a spammer and discovered I have real talent for it. Or at least a working email account.
Here’s how it happened: One day, I noticed something odd in my inbox. Along with my usual messages from Sharktank Fan Deals, Peak Biome and CBD Gummies, there were a couple of emails that had bounced back to me because I’d sent them to bad addresses. Except I hadn’t sent them. It appeared that somehow someone else had used my email account to send their junk email. I was impressed. “How clever,” I thought. No, that’s not really what I thought.
But after my initial annoyance, I was so busy deleting all my other spam emails and answering the two or three legitimate ones I had that I forgot all about it. I would have missed my big career break entirely if my spam sponsor was better at keeping his address list up to date.
Within days, every time I opened my inbox, I received another batch of what looked like bounced-back emails, except I hadn’t sent them. And thus began my short but eventful career as a spammer.
When I finally realized what was happening, I was thrilled. I thought again, how ingenious my upline spam sponsor was. And it occurred to me that with him as my mentor, maybe I too could excel in this line of work.
No, I didn’t think that either. What I really thought was AAARRRRGGGGH! I called my internet service provider in a panic. Then over the course of a week, I spent many hours on the phone with some smart, patient tech people who helped me put an end to my spamming career before I had a chance to become any more successful at it.
But now that I’ve gotten out of the business, I can’t help but wonder if I gave up too soon. It’s true that most of my time as a spammer was spent deleting bounced emails and muttering obscenities. But it must be a rewarding career or so many people wouldn’t do it.
And any successful business takes time. With a little more effort, maybe I could have excelled at spamming. Maybe I could have been somebody! Not Blue Sky Coverage or 1ink.com. Those are already taken. But somebody.
The original content of all the bounced back messages was deleted, so I’m not even sure what I was promoting. I just hope it wasn’t one of those really embarrassing products spammers hype, in case I was spamming my friends and family.
I also hope it wasn’t fake “college degkrees” or “Russian Grillfriends.” As a highly-educated, professional columnist, I’d be embarrassed if my potential victims thought I didn’t know how to use spellchecker.
I like to think I would have been as persistent as legendary spammers like Photo Stick and Triple Fungus Blast. And after my many years of diligently wading through and deleting spam emails, I think I’m qualified to write those attention-grabbing subject lines spammers are known for, like “Burn three pounds of belly fat tonight while you sleep” and “Straight talk about hair transplants.”
My sponsor obviously thought I had potential. Now I’m afraid I’ll forever wonder what might have been. Maybe I have what it takes. Maybe I was born to be a spammer. Or maybe I just clicked on something I shouldn’t have clicked on. Whatever.
Dorothy Rosby is the author of the humor book, I Didn’t Know You Could Make Birthday Cake from Scratch: Parenting Blunders from Cradle to Empty Nest. Contact [email protected]