Walked into the spam queue and found nothing there

After finishing the festive part of my day–putting up the outside Christmas lights–I gulped down a shot of morphine, calmed my mind, and went down into the WordPress netherworld where the spam queue is guarded by snakes, lost souls, and the ghost of Jack the Ripper.

WordPress spam queue
WordPress spam queue

Fortified against demons and chaos as I was, I felt as strong as anyone does when they confront their personal hell. Maybe I should have studied Jung’s “Red Book” longer rather than taking drugs. Listen, I’m not making this up: neither Carl Jung nor morphine prepared me for the utter and infinite nothingness of an empty spam queue.

An illusion?

Perhaps so. After all, we’ve learned–as I posted yesterday–that we have no clue what reality is all about. Stands to reason, we probably know squat about unreality as well.

Unreality is an empty spam queue

  • It’s like falling into the Chamber of Secrets and finding no secrets–or even a nasty basilisk
  • It’s like going to your late aunt Agatha’s abandoned house to clean out the attic and having a cold feeling that her noxious ghost is there, but not seeing anything and not being able to convince anyone else is time to leave.
  • It’s like watching a horror movie on a dark and stormy night when the power goes out and you feel like you’re not alone.
  • It’s like all kinds of things, but most of them are outside the scope of this post.

The only real thing in the spam queue is the sound of dripping water, or maybe it’s blood or Gatorade–nobody quite knows–but I heard it today and within the vast nothingness of the afternoon, the normalcy of the sound became worse than the sound of the tell tale heart in Poe’s story. Drip…drip…drip. Nobody ever finds the dripping water, or whatever, because the place is jam packed full of spam. Except not today.

It’s not that I miss the spam, those penny Viagra sales, the services that write posts for your blog, the prospective foreign wives who want marriage and a green card before they disappear, the something-for-nothing stock brokers, the SEO experts who say my blog isn’t SEO optimized, the people from Colorado selling pot in oregano bottles, and all the other black market crap that’s actually cheaper at your downtown department store.

No, it’s not that I miss it, I don’t believe it isn’t there. Somehow, the unseemly became unseen like an invisible mirage. You’ve probably seen those horror movies where scary music blasts into your head every time some hapless character opens a closet door–yet nothing bad springs out. You know something the hapless character doesn’t know. What you know is that after 15 closet doors have been okay, the 16th door is hiding something really bad, something so bad that the sound track won’t even tip anyone off that the door should never be opened.

That’s the feeling I had this afternoon in the empty spam queue, you know, that it wasn’t really as empty as it looked, that I’d walk around a corner with my guard down and fall into a pit of maggots selling auto insurance to anyone in my state.

Worse yet, with no visible spam, the place was open to all possible spam, the spam of my nightmares, the spam I think about on lonely roads, the spam people threaten me with during Facebook flame wars–this is the cruelest cut of all, the “empty” spam queue, because the spammers know that the spam of my fears is worse than anything they can ever deliver.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the occasional author of paranormal stuff (surprised?) like Cora’s Crossing, Willing Spirits and Moonlight and Ghosts.

There’s nothing in your spam queue at the moment

An empty spam queue is good news whether it’s one’s e-mail account or one’s blog.

According to “A Brief  History of Spam,” a pervasive urban myth is that (when referring to the meat product introduced by Hormel in 1937) the letters S, P, A, M are an acronym for “Scientifically Processed Animal Matter.”  I’m sure the Hormel company doesn’t agree. But I wonder, what does the company call its e-mail queue of unwanted junk mail?

snakeoilWordPress protects bloggers from most of the SPAM. I look in the queue from time to time to see what’s there. Unlike my e-mail accounts which occasionally have legitimate e-mails in the SPAM queue, there is almost never anything other than the lowest quality animal matter in my WordPress SPAM queue.

I’ve written about the SPAM queue here from time to time because I can’t figure out how or why SPAM would ever work. It has a snake oil quality about it that looks even worse (assuming that’s possible) when the messages are written with the pretense that the spammer has actually read the post to which they’re attached.

Many newsletters destined for my e-mail accounts suggest that I put their addresses in my “this stuff is okay” list (or whatever it’s called) since they often have links in them that anti-SPAM software interprets as SPAM.

That’s too bad because my e-mail account has way too much SPAM in the SPAM queue for me to sort through it item by item. Maybe spammers should wise up and make their e-mails and comments look less like SPAM.

If spammers tried to sell me what my blog subjects suggest I might be willing to buy, they might have more luck. That’s what I would do if I went into the SPAM business. Goodness knows, I wouldn’t be peddling Viagra to people with writing-related blogs. I’d be peddling writing services. I never find any of those in my WordPress SPAM queue.

Not that I want to. When we advertise legitimate products, we’re advised to target our audiences. That’s what we do when we boost a post on Facebook. We look for people who might really want our book or short story collection or authors’ services site. Spammers don’t seem to do that. I’m glad they don’t, because I don’t want more stuff I have to manually delete.

You can tell it’s a slow day when I waste time pondering SPAM.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell’s publisher, Thomas-Jacob, is giving away a free Kindle Fire tablet to one of the people who subscribes to the new mailing list. The Random drawing is a couple of weeks away. So, if you want a shot at the Kindle and if you want to keep up with my work and the work of the other authors at Thomas-Jacob, here’s the link for the subscription/entry form.