Flipping through the TV channels the other night, I saw a commercial for Spam.
For those of you who are computerized, I must explain that there are two kinds of Spam.
And there's spam.
If your eyes haven't been wasted by endless glaring at the screen of a computer monitor, you will see that one Spam has a big S and the other spam has a little s.
It may look the same. Trust me, it's not.
The big-S Spam is what some of us remember as a food staple when we were young and broke. I can't tell you officially what's in Spam, but ham and other pork bits would be a good start.
Spam (big S) comes in a can that used to have one of those nifty keys to twist off a band of razor-sharp metal. I'm sure the Federal Let's Make the World Safe for Idiots Department no longer permits these devices, which used to be on sardine, Vienna sausage and coffee cans too.
I don't know how you get Spam out of the cans these days. And I don't want to. Many of you in my generation would agree that Spam was a good incentive to find a job, work hard, open a savings account and keep a big enough balance in your checking account to buy real meat -- meat whose shape occurs naturally rather than as the result of high-pressure packing.
Evidently -- or so I gathered from the Spam commercial I saw -- the mystery-meat industry is mounting a PR campaign that includes showing the same commercial over and over again. We'll see how that works.
The way I see it, if the Spam folks really want to get under the skin of a lot of people, they would rely on spam.
Little-s spam involves sending millions and millions of e-mails to people you don't know, will never meet and who don't mind paying for cable TV, despite the spam claim that it's OK to buy a special filter so you can steal premium channels.
That's not all. Spam senders can fix my credit, find me a zero-percent mortgage, sell pharmaceuticals without a prescription, boost my energy with a miracle pill, give me access to more than 10 billion porn sites, fix me up with enough credit cards to pave the entire length of Broadway and find people I didn't know I was looking for.
Not all spam comes from strangers. Some spam comes from folks I know who find something they like on the Internet and decide to share it with an e-mail address list that includes hundreds and hundreds of their closest and dearest friends who happen to own both a computer and an e-mail account and couldn't possibly find anything interesting on the World Wide Web all by themselves. Lucky me.
Thanks to spam (little s), any investor would be wise to sink a lot of money into companies that sell software to filter out all those annoying, unwanted e-mails.
We have a filtering system here at the newspaper. If it's set to stop 100 percent of the spam, I don't get any e-mail. Our filtering system has been known to keep me from getting legitimate e-mails from other folks right here in the building. At best, the filter allows me to get most of the e-mails I want and reduces my flow of junk e-mails to something under a thousand a day. Which means we need new filtering software, which costs money, which means some smart company out there is going to make a bundle, which means its stock price will go through the roof.
(You now know everything I know about smart investments.)
But here's what I really don't understand about most of the spam I get: How am I supposed to lose all that weight if I increase the size (Guaranteed Results!) of all those body parts?
Folks, there are some questions you don't want answers for.
R. Joe Sullivan is the editor of the Southeast Missourian.