An email box folder littered with spam messages.

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It must have been the pressure of end-of-the-month quotas, because last week, I received a tsunami of bizarro spam. Some obscure offshoot of the United Nations wants to gift me $500,000 to help ‘elevate’ poverty in my’ urea’. That got me thinking about all of the domain renewals,  investments and lotteries I’d passed up.

Some thoughtful type sent an ‘ Important notify about your e-mail account’ that some evil-doer had compromised my security and I should input my information so an investigation could be started immediately. Wow – it had to be real. I was preparing to enter my personal data when I got an urgent message from a Constable Smythe in the Midlands (UK) about not accepting business cards from painters in parking lots because the cards could be laced with something called Burundanga, which could incapacitate me with dizziness.

Whew!  I was just reviving from that bombshell when I spied a clutch of messages from Mrs. Monica/Cynthia/Walter/Patrice Wamwala/Thorne/Kamokairo/Lasedo from Guinea/West Africa/South Africa exhorting me to sponsor her and her ‘orphan’ children. My reward will be monthly payments of $50,000 from a fortune that has been secreted in a Swiss bank. Only a small deposit is required. Please send my banking information and a void cheque to Barrister Becky Smart at an address in…London. Becky. Right, mate. I’m on it.

Thank you Bill Gates, but I’ll pass on the trip to Disneyland because I’m not into pressing a sequence of keys like a lab rat or forwarding 100 chain-letters. By the same token, my concrete heart is not softened by lurid photos of ailing children, adoptable pets, lepers, indigents, broke lottery winners and horrific disasters. It’s just that kind of day.

Last week, we were treated to two gents in orange coveralls with official looking reflective stripes and paperback-sized identity tags hanging from their chest pockets. The younger guy, who had that ‘oh Lord what am I doing here’ fixed stare was accompanied by a fast-taking snake-oil type with a clipboard who assured me they could remedy my faulty rental water heater by installing a brand new energy-efficient model at NO cost. When I asked him who they were with, he mumbled something about ‘gas company’. Enbridge? Direct Energy. Nah – they don’t service your water heater.We do that now, on contract. Oh really? So do you know what size tank we have and when it was installed? I whipped out the newspaper with the ad from Direct Energy telling us it’s okay to tell these ginks ‘get off my lawn’. Hub snapped a couple of photos before they beetled off the steps. Maybe I can graft the heads onto something rude and post it online. I checked the company name on the internet and they are renowned for 15 year contracts, shady dealings and misrepresentation. Ugh.  The sad thing is, there are folks who will get sucked into their patter.