While cleaning out my spam folder, I was reminded of a comic strip I had seen a decade ago.  It was labeled “If Spam Were True” and showed various characters acting out how it might look if those endless arrays of spam messages were actually truthful in nature and not attempts to scam you out of your cash.  (Side note:  If anyone actually remembers this comic strip and knows where I might find a copy, I’d love to hear it.  For the life of me, I can’t remember the strip’s name and haven’t been able to locate it for years.)

Anyway, I was thinking about this strip, and wondered what would happen if someone did build a device that made any spam that entered his inbox magically come true.  It might turn out something like the following.

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The phone rang three times before a voice answered.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Adam?  Ted here.  I’ve got something I need you to take off of my hands.”

“What is it?”

“Well, you know all of those annoying spam e-mails that come in?”

“Yeah.  Man, do I hate those things.”

“Well I was playing around with some stuff and thought I stumbled on a way to make all spam disappear forever.”

“Wow!  You should patent that.  It’s a million dollar idea.”

“I don’t need a million dollars.  I need you to take this thing away from me.”

“Why would you want to get rid of it?  That thing’s worth a fortune.”

“I know.  There are just two problems.”

“What are they?”

“The first problem is that I can’t turn it off.  No matter what I do with it, it keep churning along doing it’s thing.  I even tried cutting the power cable but it’s still running.  Darned if I know how.”

“Ok, that’s weird.  Still, a Spam Stopper that needs no power?  Sounds even better to me.”

“That’s the other problem.  It doesn’t stop spam.  It makes it come true.”

“Makes it come true?”

“Yeah.  You know all of those International Lottery e-mails?  The ones that say you’ve won some huge prize from a lottery that everyone knows doesn’t really exist?”

“Yes?”

“Well, somehow my machine has turned those imaginary winnings into real dollars.”

“You’re kidding.”

“No, I’m not.  I was suspicious when the first boxes full of cash began arriving, but they seem to be 100% legal tender.”

“Amazing.”

“I thought so too, at first.  Then the machine branched out into Nigerian spammers.”

“Those guys are worse than the phony lottery folks.”

“Except when they’re turned true.  Now I’m being showered with so much money, I don’t know what to do with it all.  I stopped counting at around $90 billion.”

“Okay, except for an accounting nightmare, I don’t see what the problem is.  You’ve got more money than you ever dreamed of.  I think a few tax or accounting headaches would be worth it.”

“It might have been, but it didn’t stop there.  You know those e-mails that claim to be from women who are just dying to meet you for illicit activities?”

“Uh-oh.”

“Yup.  You guessed it.  Suddenly hundreds of strange women began showing up at my doorstep throwing themselves at me.  My wife was already wondering what was up with the sudden influx of money but now she was convinced that I was cheating on her.  She left for her mother’s house three weeks ago, took the kids and I haven’t been able to contact them since.”

“But you didn’t actually *do* anything with these women, right?”

“Of course not.  Give me some credit.  Still, it’s getting draining saying ‘No’ to beautiful women three times per hour.  And since spam doesn’t respect night-time hours, these women show up at all hours of the day.  I haven’t gotten a decent night’s sleep in weeks.  Are you laughing?”

“Sorry, but I couldn’t help but chuckle over how you made having tons of money and beautiful woman fawning over you sound like such a chore.”

“Honestly, all I want is my simple life back.  I don’t want this infernal machine anymore.”

“Ok, ok.  I think I can take it off your hands.  I’m single, so there won’t be a complication with the women showing up.  When do you want to drop it off?”

“Um… Actually, I was hoping you could pick it up from me.  I can’t leave my apartment anymore.”

“Why not?  With every money e-mail spam adding to your bank account, I’d think you could transport it here in a private helicopter.”

“Yes, but you know all of those ‘add an inch’ spam e-mails?”

“Heh heh heh.  Yeah.  They came true too, right?  Wait a second.  Exactly, how many of them have come true so far?”

“28… Make that 29.”

“Um… Actually, I don’t think I’ll be able to help you Ted.  Maybe you could try Rick or Tony.  I just remembered that have something very urgent to take care of.”

“Please, Adam… You’ve got to help me.  I need to get rid of this before…”

Adam could hear a ding in the background and then another.  He hung up the phone as he heard Ted mumbling something about herbal viagra.  He felt bad for Ted.  He hated his overflowing spam folder, but decided that there are worse things in the world.  Those spam messages could be coming true!