Evading the Scourge of Junk Email

junk email

It started slowly at first. An annoying junk mail email announcing killer prices on Lasik surgery. An unbelievable offer for a fifty-dollar bonus from Macy’s (if I just completed a survey where I gave up all my personal information). I did what the experts advised. I dutifully clicked on the ‘unsubscribe’ links for each an every junk mail that trickled in.

It didn’t work. Soon, the trickle turned to a torrent: offers for business cards, inheritance notices from countries I’ve never heard of, get-rich-quick schemes, degrees in the mail, lawyers, magic pills, deals on Fords. With the last one, I knew for sure that someone had sold my email address. Any savvy marketer would know that we stand by our Toyotas one hundred percent.

I carefully avoided clicking on any of the emails—sending them directly to the junk mail folder each time one appeared in my inbox. I suddenly realized I spent more time deleting junk mail than I did reading actual important emails. I tightened the filters on my email programs—which worked for a while.

One option, early on, would have been to delete the account and start another one. But I justified keeping the account because I had started using it for the blog and each time I visited and commented on someone else’s site. The thought of changing all that stuff overwhelmed me.

With the advent of the political season, the emails increased—whoever bought my email address had sold it both parties, evidently, because both Trump-haters and
Trump supporters started sending me notices. One side claimed that I could be as smart as Donald if I just bought their product and installed security cameras. The other promised to ensure that he never became president by making a large donation NOW.

I looked on my webhosting service and discovered that they offered two free spam protection programs, so I fired them both up—with little noticeable difference in the flood of junk mail inundating my inbox. I tried blacklisting those who sent the nasty stuff. I wouldn’t know if it worked, though, because the spam numbers never seemed to drop—probably because my email had been sold over and over again and an exponential number of sharks fed in my inbox tank.

And then those junk mail senders turned dirty. Really dirty. So dirty I blushed just skimming over the subject lines. Now I had to make sure that I quit my email program before classes because one of those new subject lines might pop up on my computer whilst explaining to students the use of foreshadowing in To Kill a Mockingbird.

When I went on vacation for a week, my junk mail inbox accumulated over 2435 pieces of trash—not to mention the 350 that had slipped by the filters and spam protection.

I give up. Sure, I could pay $2.99 a month for 99.9% spam protection—but my feeble math brain computes that I’d still get about 27 junk emails a week—even 3.8 junk emails a week seem like too big a burden (especially if those sneaky guys sell my email address to other junk mail purveyors—and we both know what will happen then).

I surrender. I’m deleting that offending account because that’s the only way I’ll rid myself of the scourge of spam. But first, I have to set up a new email address. Then I have to go through my web life and figure out every. single. account. that has the sold-out email address. I must change every. single. one. I hate change. But I know it will make my life so much easier. I’m making the move this week, and I can’t wait for the liberation of my inbox.

Spam reminds me of sin. I think I can handle it on my own. I try gimmicks, gadgets, justification and self-filtering. Somehow, sin seems to expend exponentially until it threatens to bury me under an avalanche where no transponder or St. Bernard will ever find me.

Spam reminds me of sin. I think I can handle it on my own. Click To Tweet

The remedy lies in acknowledgement and surrender. I have to acknowledge that I have a problem that I can’t solve on my own. I have to surrender all of my self, my problems, and my sins to the only One who can create in me a clean heart—free of sin and spam. Once I confess and acknowledge that I have no power, God works in me and through me (in HIS time, not according to my time line) to rid me of the scourge of sin. It’s an ongoing process, but it’s oh, so liberating to rid myself of the burden of sin.

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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