Each week I begrudgingly sift through my spam email folder, verifying that nothing of importance inadvertently landed there. Occasionally I get a surprise -- e.g., MR. SCHWEM PLEASE CONTACT THE SCHOOL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. That one went undiscovered for three days; luckily the school nurse also has my cellphone number.
Not only does scanning the subject lines take an exorbitant amount of time, but it has a profound effect on my weekly emotional state. Case in point? I didn't realize I was overweight until five weeks ago when I began getting emails insisting I watch a video from Dr. Oz (yes, that Dr. Oz) that would help me "SHED THAT FAT." My physician recently told me my weight was absolutely normal, but so fast and furious were the emails arriving, that I started to wonder. At one point, 33 landed in my spam folder in one hour, causing me to immediately empty the snack drawer in my home office and Google "most popular fitness apps."
One week later, just as I was ready to embark on a new lifestyle regimen, emails from the great and powerful Oz disappeared -- and I think I know why. True, the good doctor advises millions via his syndicated talk show but his publicist must have told him not to get mixed up with patients like myself whose files are full of UNFLATTERING INFORMATION. Suddenly email after email was hitting my spam folder with this awful news. I have no idea where my "file" is but it must be bulging at the seams because, as double digit emails stated, it also contained HORRIBLE, NEGATIVE and SHOCKING information. Making matters worse, there was an INSANE post about me on Friday. I didn't click on the attached link to see the source of this insanity (I'm not that stupid) but I sank further into depression.
Thankfully, things began looking up the next week; gone were the emails containing shocking information. Now my spam folder excitedly buzzed with wonderful news. I had an AMAZING CREDIT SCORE! "Perfect," I thought. "What better way to cheer myself up than to drag my fat, unflattering self over to my local bank and put a down payment on that catamaran I've been eyeballing over the years?" If the loan officer hesitated, I could produce at least 67 emails verifying that some organization named Equifax gave me a perfect score. As one email subject stated, "Credit scores are hard to increase, but YOURS just went up!" So there.
As March gave way to April, I really got a spring in my step, courtesy of my spam folder. All I had to do was complete a brief survey and Subway would offer me a FREE SUB. At last count, I have received 94 emails with this offer. If I take all 94 surveys, I can eat more subs than Jared and not pay for any of them, in spite of my exemplary credit score! Better yet, I wouldn't need Dr. Oz's video. How much weight did Jared lose eating nothing but Subway for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Well I didn't think things could get any better in my life. Until the following week. That's when I realized I could get an IPHONE 5 FOR $19.35! And an IPAD3 FOR $41.19! I was ready to act but decided to wait and it's a good thing. The 159th email proclaiming these amazing Apple deals had the iPhone and iPad down to $7.82 and $29.14 respectively. I envisioned myself spending the day with the world's most popular technology toys while I ate free Veggie Delites at a Wi-Fi-enabled Subway.
Unfortunately, I'm going to have to put that on hold because this week my spam folder has me back in a funk. Apparently I have ALARMINGLY LOW TESTOSTERONE LEVELS! This was news to me (and my wife), but I'm sure it's somewhere in my file. Now I'm checking my spam folder constantly, waiting for a solution.
Dr. Oz, can you help?
(Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author of "Text Me If You're Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad," available at http://amzn.to/schwem. Visit Greg on the web at http://www.gregschwem.com.)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun