Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spam I Am - You Had Me at Dearest

Trey Smith

Like everyone else who does email, I receive spam. Some of it is offensive. Some of it is annoying. And some of it is funny, though I don't think that is the intent. I've decided to share some of it with you periodically in a feature I call, Spam I Am.

Usually in these posts, I share a specific email and then poke fun at it. This post, however, is not about one specific example of spam; it is about a pattern I have noticed. I don't know how many emails I receive each week that start with the word, dearest, in the introduction (e.g., My dearest, Dearest One, Dearest Friend, etc.).

Dearest means loved and cherished, greatly valued, precious and affectionate. It is a word generally reserved for someone you have close or intimate relationship with. The very fact that a complete stranger would choose to use such a word as a form of salutation is a big tip off that the email itself is spam! This is especially true when the sender doesn't even appear to know your actual name!

My guess is that the spammers who choose this word are not American English speakers. They think that the use of this word will soften people up, but what moron would fall for such a thing? I suppose that's a rhetorical question because some people must fall for it or else it wouldn't be such a common practice.

For me, however, if I see the word, dearest, in the salutation, I immediately mark the message as spam and send it to my spam folder. I don't need to read ANYTHING else. The only people I can think of who might use that word in earnest are my mother (she's been dead for 21years!) and my wife. Though it is not a word that Della typically uses, if she did use it, it would be more likely that she would say it to my face, not write it in an email.

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