Friday 13 May 2016

Notes from the Spam Folder, 1. The Nominative Determinism Edition.

It's an old cliche, a tale as old as time, but the phrase "You don't know what you've got til it's gone" never felt so true to me until that day my email provider upgraded their spam filter ... and my wild and wonderful spam-life came to an abrupt end.

We've all been there ... right?

Since then life - or to be more precise my spam folder - has never been the same again.

Something was lost that day. Something colourful; something real [well, not really real; not at all real in actual fact, rather it was all utterly and entirely 100% made up, but still ...]; something that gave meaning to my life and my ability to take take screenshots was lost. And all I have to remember it by now is, well, is those screenshots ...

Up until the upgrade, sometime last year, I regularly used to receive dozens, if not hundreds of spam messages a month. Not to my inbox, because my spam folder caught 99% of them, but my spam folder had become a place I really liked to visit.

I thrive on serendipity, I rely on the joyfully miscellaneous minutiae of our daily existence for 'material', and I scour for, hoard, and polish the plucked treasures of life ... therefore this loss of regular entertainment has been deeply felt.

But, like I say, thankfully, for posterity, I did take screenshots of some of them, just a few handfuls, just enough to remind me of the 'good' old days. Just enough to share ...

Notes from the Spam Folder, 1. The Nominative Determinism Edition.

"Give a dog a bad name and hang him" so the old saying goes. Label someone and then just watch how they end up living up it to the name.

Does your name reflect what you do for a living?

With a name like 'Kirk' I should either be running a Scottish church ... or the deck of the USS Enterprise.  Which I'm not ... but take, for example, the the time James had an appointment with a 'Doctor Nurse'. No, it didn't mean a 'Nurse Practitioner' or any other kind of hybrid healthcare provider, but rather Nurse was actually the Doctor's surname. [Playing doctors and nurses is literally a one man job for him].

Or take the woodwork teacher in my secondary school Mr. Sawden. Or the former Chief Justice of England and Wales Baron Judge.

Or Bob the Builder ...

And it's that same quirk of naming that links together the senders of this first batch of spam mail I'm sharing. Because what all these purveyors of unsolicited messages were suffering from was a bad case of nominative determinism.

*Warning to those likely to be offended by light smut: All of these spam messages involve sexy-talk ... and a small side-avalanche of willful double-entendre. So if you don't like innuendo then yo'd best look away now before I slip one in.

OK then, hello there you self-confessed smut-seeker you ... how about we begin with this set of correspondents who I can only imagine went into the business of bombarding strangers with adverts for porn and/or 'endurance' medication just to make the most from their family name:
I don't know about you but I imagine Bonnie has had to put up with her fair share of indecent inquiries in her time.

Oh and yes, before we move on, I know you've spotted that rogue Sherlock there [above] but hold your hounds a while because I have additional Conan-Doyle-ish spammers to share in another post sometime.  [Presuming I'm not run out of Blogland for filth in the meantime].

Until then ... we can only surmise that both Dick and the two Fannies here went into this kind of work after being beaten down by name-related-bullying at school. A case of 'if you can't beat them, send random strangers emails about them'

Aside: As for quite why so many Macduffs have gotten into the business ... I don't know ... if you can find the link between selling 'sex secrets' and a character from MacBeth then you're a better pun-maker than I.

Not so hard to define is this pair ... what with surnames like Longman and Roger ... I think we can agree that Amber and Darrell have found themselves in the right industry:
As have the Hardman family:

It must have been a proud day when Maynard [above] brought his son 'Junior' [below] into the spamming business.

Sheds new light on the idea of passing on the baton ... or handing down the family jewels ...

And let's not forget the contribution the Wood family have made, what with Justin [above] and [below] the woman whose name could not better reflect the promise she makes in her subject-line: 

eg: "What do you do for a living Aida Wood?", "Yes, that's right, how did you guess?".

Although perhaps one woman qualified to give Aida a run for her money in the named-to-suit-her-profession stakes, is this sender ...

Likewise my all time favourite correspondent [who, alas, I forgot to screenshot] - couldn't have been more appropriately or eye-catchingly named. Like Maynard and Junior who we've already met - he was another member of the Hardman family; Rusty Hardman, to be exact. The name of an ex-porn-star if ever I heard one.

But finally, let's take a moment to spare a thought for those in the industry who - unlike our previous cast of characters - have been saddled with names that actually contradict what it is they're trying to sell. I mean, no matter how virile this chap may be, just how many of his 'affordable-priced pharmaceuticals' is he likely to sell when his name makes him sound like he hasn't 'enjoyed' himself for quite a while ...


Over the years there've been more Dustys, more Aida's and Hardmans [or should that be Hardmen??] Many more. But, it's like I said at the start ... you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. 

You think rude spam will last forever. You think there'll always be another chance to snigger, to marvel at its filthy ingenuity, to screenshot it. But you're wrong. 

If you're fortunate enough to have an email provider with a shoddy spam filter then just take a moment to be grateful, take a moment to visit the folder, take a moment to marvel at the bizarre new friends vying for your attention, and then take a screenshot of all your favourites. 

Just don't - under any circumstances - click any of the links they've sent you. Not one of them. Not even if it's from trusty Rusty. Do you hear me? Good. 



p.s: If this post disappears you'll know that I'm struggling with the inevitable spam comments its bound to attract. 

p.p.s: Before I actually do go - just to save us an embarrassing conversation later - you do know that I know that they're not their real names, don't you? Yeah. Fine. Thought so. As you were.  


  1. Imagine the same experience old school. Think of the catalogues you'd be getting through the post..

    1. Your idea made me chuckle!!!! Imagine the postman: he'd never be able to look you in the eye again ;)

    2. I know ... and things are harder to deny any knowledge of when they're there in print! "It wasn't me! Honestly! Someone's just sending it to me unsolicited, I swear."

  2. I've been looking forward to see where you'd go with this idea and it didn't disappoint! (Glad I read it in private as I was guffawing out loud something rotten!). Soooooooooo funny, so so so well written. (Definitely needs to be a Chapter in a book....). Love love love it! (Thank you for the laugh: just what the Dr ordered!)....H

    P.S. Sian's old school idea made me chuckle! Imagine the postman, he'd never be able to look you in the eye again!!

  3. P.P.S. Wracking my brain trying to find the link between selling 'sex secrets' and a character from MacBeth!!!!!!

  4. The Macduffs certainly seem to be popular in your neck of the woods ;)


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