Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Other Lunch Meat

While there is an endless and ever-growing list of things beyond my ability to comprehend (such as the popularity of Lady Gaga), one of the things that is a reliable source of befuddlement for me is the "Spam Filter" on the Firm's e-mail service/server/provider (I do not know what you call the organism that provides e-mail other than knowing it is not the "e-post office" so I decided to group together all of the terms that I have ever heard uttered allowed in casual conversation). My rudimentary grasp of what it is intended to do is that it is supposed to keep inane, purposeless e-mails from crashing the party in my in-box that is otherwise enjoyed by work-related e-mails and those of personal significance.

Clearly I am either dumber than even I have long feared I am or the train has jumped the tracks on this particular device. Every Sunday morning like clockwork I receive an e-mail from someone or something called Postini announcing with great acclaim all of the bad, diseased or otherwise junk e-mails that it has blocked from reaching my in-box. I love that the particularly grizzly little bastards are identified by their red letters - symbolizing that they are indeed the blood enemies of me, my e-mail in-box and our collective effort to live in harmony.

Not only are they written in blood, they are quarantined to their own section of the Postini list. An e-mail placed in lock down to keep him from mixing with the other e-mails? Talk about bad news on your doorstep. Those heavy hitters are kept in a segregated population, away and apart from the rank-and-file junk e-mails whose only crime appears to be that they are offensive to both intellect and efficiency. They are criminals only in the Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan sense of the word. Slap an ankle bracelet on the little miscreants and get on with the rest of your day.

Yet for reasons not entirely clear to me, our magical Spam filter has sort of an elastic notion of what constitutes that which it is supposed to block. For instance, it intermittently blocks e-mails sent by an old friend of mine who used to work with me at the Firm even though all of the e-mails he sends me - those judged worthy of delivery and those barred entry into my in-box - all are sent by him to me from his work e-mail address from the law firm where he has worked since he left us several years ago. There is no apparent rhyme or reason as to which of his e-mails get blocked and which get through.

While concentrating its efforts on blocking my pal Jeff (and admittedly when his Notre Dame Fighting Irish are having a good season his bragging can get a little annoying) my spam filter is seriously screwing with me in other areas. I presume this by the extraordinary number of e-mails I receive every day hawking Viagra. They arrive with such almost metronomic precision that I am starting to think that Margaret is behind them.

Amazingly, every Sunday morning when I check Postini to see who has been ensnared in the web's web, included among the flies are countless ones selling Viagra. Am I too presume that only once a certain number of little blue pill-driven advertisements arrive in the filter they rise to the level of spam? Who knew that the same type of behavioral excess (the four-hour flagpole) that is designed to prompt a phone call to a medical professional applied to the seemingly benign environment of e-mail?

It has been said that one man's trash is another man's treasure. I now know that the man who said that is Mr. Postini. And every day he deposits more of someone else's treasure than any man could stand right there in my in-box.

Boy, do I hate Mr. Postini.



Jeff said...

I will communicate with you through this site with pithy comments.

Adam Kenny said...

I must say Mr. Swanson that all these years later it is as if the Firm's e-mail filter still occasionally protests against you having left us.....or maybe that's just me doing that.