I work at a newspaper. I am the guy who assembles the editorial page, so I get to go through the hundreds of e-mails sent our way every day to pluck out the few ACTUAL LETTERS TO THE EDITOR from the reams of Viagra offers, ads for porn sites, requests from shady Nigerian businessmen and all the other various crap.
It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to delete it.
I’ve been getting TONS of e-mail recently from people trying to get the word out about Terri Schiavo, that comatose woman in Florida whose husband wants to pull the plug on her, but her parents are against it and now the governor of Florida is involved … I’m to the point where I wish she was DEAD so I could stop getting all of these messages! I wrote a filter to spare me the chore of deleting them, but I can’t stop all of the messages – some people misspell her last name or simply refer to “Terri,” and I can’t filter out every e-mail with that word in it!
Several “Save Terri” e-mails made it to me tonight, and I just got fed up, so I began issuing stern replies. I didn’t use any foul language, because no doubt a great number of these people are merely well-meaning boobs who don’t realize that a lot of other well-meaning boobs out there have the same notion to send out all this garbage, and all of that boobery adds up to a lot of wasted time for recipients like me.
What I basically told people was, “I don’t appreciate receiving this spam. I have real work to do, and plowing through the endless stream of e-mail like yours only slows me down. Please quit.” I was a little sterner with people who sent what I could recognize were form letters, because that is brainless conformity; if you send me an ORIGINAL piece of Terri Schiavo spam, I can at least respect your initiative!
Wasn’t sure what to expect in the way of replies, but just before I went home, one of the spammers dispatched a simple “Sorry.” I was quite touched. I would have thanked the person, but God knows I don’t want to encourage him or her.