True Stories: The Spammer I Loved

My short, sweet, and strange relationship with the woman who tried to sell me questionable Viagra.


by Alec Banks

There I was, sitting in front of my trusty laptop, trying my hardest not to complete the task at hand, a particularly research-intensive piece for a men's portal. I'd already readjusted my iTunes playlist several times, after which I'd checked the weather to see if an overcoat would ever be necessary in L.A. Finally, I was ready to write something, anything, when I reasoned with myself, "Check your email, find that you're not as popular as you'd like to think, and then it's down to business."

Sure enough, there was no exhilaratingly bolded section in my Gmail inbox, so I had no excuse not to crack the whip on myself. As I let the tiny cursor trace precise horizontal lines across opened correspondences about deadlines, missing payments, and green chat bubbles indicating to me that there was life somewhere out there, I found my cursor resting on my spam inbox.

I've always been fascinated with spam for the simple fact that someone has to create it. Even if it's a computer actually sending it out, alerting the world to "thick erections that could frame a house," it ultimately has to originate from a human being. There's something intriguing — but also sad — about that prospect. Somewhere out there was the Hemingway of spam, and thanks to the filters our email affords us, their work goes unopened. Papa's aphorism, "A man can be destroyed but not defeated," seemed apropos.

I started poking around, sifting through promises of length and extension from unknown persons just waiting to share their secrets with me. I tore through page after page of correspondences, each sent either from a sham company, or from a woman with a mysterious name like Apolonia Angla, Valencia Mandie, or Zetta Miriam.

I was officially consumed. I wouldn't be finishing any paid assignment that day. But what I would do was reply back to a smattering of emails:

Dearest Adrien,

Thanks for emailing me about the Viagra. When can you send it to me and more importantly, when can I try it out on you? Can't wait to enter you with my bone saw.

My Lily,

I want you to be a Gmail user in the streets and a Hotmail user in the sheets. I can't wait to (hard as a) rock your world.

Darling Sascha,

Yes. I. Want. To. Add. Girth. Send it my way.

Then I waited. Like clockwork, I'd send an email to each of these ladies every day. Each response was slightly different, because I knew I wouldn't be able to look at myself in the mirror as a writer if I spent my days "spamming" the spammers. And then... I got a response back. As it turned out, "Lily" was really a Rhonda.

Hey Alec,

Thanks for all the funny emails for the last few weeks. It's made my day!

Rhonda 

Success! I'd managed to get a response back. (And it also featured a rare appropriate use of an exclamation point.) But why had she responded? The thought of someone monitoring these exchanges seemed rather absurd, a waste of valuable keystrokes that could've more profitably been spent writing more spam. I reasoned that perhaps Rhonda's job was at a mom-and-pop spam operation. It seemed at least as logical as the fact that I'd been answering spam emails for weeks.

The lines of communication were officially open, but I was unsure of what I really wanted out of this. If the exercise was just to get a response, then my job was done. But I wanted more. I wanted some emotional girth.

I lay awake wondering what was the proper thing to say to a woman who made her living pitching artificial boners, like a Menthol-smoking waitress delivering corned-beef hash. Comedy seemed like the obvious play, but I'd already used that to get her attention. But I didn't want to scare her away, so I decided to stick to humor.

So, how many times do you use the word "rod" in a given work day?

Haha. Slightly more than an electrician and slightly less than a mechanic.

Has anyone ever written back to one of these emails before, or am I the first weirdo to do so?

You're the only weirdo. My weirdo.

friend wanted to know, do they really work at, you know, making it bigger?

You can tell your friend that the pill bottle is the only thing of good use, because he can collect his small-penis-having tears in it.

It went on like this for a few weeks. Every couple of days I'd fire off a quick email to her, and she'd reply back the next morning. It was always like this, with me doing the chasing and her coyly responding back. We never talked about our lives outside of this peculiar situation. We both saw the humor. But I wanted more. I wanted to see what she looked like. 

I fought with this desire for a couple days. I didn't want to date this woman, so why should it matter what she looked like? A friend of mine reasoned that I had only grazed the spam surface by getting a name and a personality behind the machine, and that I needed to put a face to the situation. Convinced, I decided to ask Rhonda for a picture of herself under the guise of a little humor.

Rhonda,
Here we are. Two crazy kids in a mad, mad world. Show me yours and I'll show you mine.
Alec

Show you what?
Rhonda

Whatever feels right.
ab

And then there was nothing. It was clearly her turn, but day after day, my spam inbox remained peppered with other correspondences that I knew weren't from Rhonda. Had she thought that I actually wanted her to send naked photos? What had happened? 

I'd been shot down, that's what. No regular pictures, and certainly no naked pictures would come dancing through my inbox, nipples appearing like umlauts in the body of the email. I'd gone too far, which I'd been known to do not only in my professional life, but also with matters of the heart. I decided that I needed to apologize to Rhonda, wherever she was in the world. (My money had always been on Kuala Lumpur, but she could have been sending out her manifestos from the comfort of a studio apartment in Oakland for all I knew.)

Rhonda,
I want to offer my sincerest apology for my boorish behavior. I think being bombarded with emails about "thickness" made me forget that a woman should be treated delicately. I understand if you never want to hear from me again, but hopefully that won't be the case. It was all in good fun.
Best,
Alec

I would never hear back from Rhonda. That was probably best, because our little internet tryst had completely consumed me. Wouldn't you know — I was the first person ever to give a spam emailer something that they didn't want. 

Some months later, I couldn't help combing through my spam inbox. After sifting through several, one particular caught my eye.

"Do u Want too be able to poke your throbbing meatrope st8 thu your partners vachina?"

It could only have been Rhonda.

Follow Alec Banks on Twitter at @smart_alec_.

Commentarium (22 Comments)

Dec 23 11 - 1:31am
Miss March

Oddy touching. Wish I could think of some clever dick centric pun to insert here, but....

Dec 23 11 - 10:40am
Wayle On

Just one more of the many wrong places in which he is looking for love.

Dec 23 11 - 12:19pm
Buster Brown

This was literally the funniest thing I've read in months. Thanks for sending me into the holiday break with a sense of normalcy for myself!

Dec 24 11 - 2:28am
julian

Don't read much, huh?

Dec 23 11 - 3:54pm
DJ

Gives the song 'Help Me Rhonda' a new twist, eh?

Dec 24 11 - 2:29am
Boson Higgs

Oh PLEASE. Do you think that was an original line? Could you possibly be that naive?

Dec 23 11 - 4:59pm
Desi

Bravo, good sir!

Dec 24 11 - 12:31am
Mags

That ...was a wonderful story.

Dec 25 11 - 9:06am
George

I am curious as to why people are so certain it's fake, other than its unlikelyness. What am I missing?

Dec 25 11 - 12:31pm
Of The Jungle

It's fakeness.

Dec 25 11 - 9:41am
sara

I don't get it either. I realize it's unikely but that doesn't make it impossible. I found the story charming.

Dec 26 11 - 12:52am
jcm800

yes, it is impossible. there is no one on the other side of spam messages except a bunch of perl and ruby scripts. if you do not know what those are, don't worry about it-- basically, if you reply to a spam message, it will go nowhere. No human connection to be made, unless it's one of those Nigerian scam ones :)

it's a cute idea but it ain't a "true story."

Dec 25 11 - 7:04pm
Ct

Id be impressed if this hadnt already been done on cracked years ago.

Dec 26 11 - 12:54am
lezley

Pretty sure George and sara are the author responding :) saaaaaaad.

Dec 26 11 - 9:46am
Alan Coffee

ROFLMFAO +1 I hadn't considered that angle. Kudos.

Dec 26 11 - 10:33am
spermmer

That's a charmer...seems real....happened to my neighbors 2 years of spamming..they get married and live happily...they eat mostly low salt spam and they make 10 lovely kids...inspiring..but she just made that story..but things happened for a weird reasons..God works wonders...there's always first time for everything...where's the coffee..?..I smell or heard it:)

Dec 26 11 - 3:26pm
Alan Coffee

"low salt spam" +1 LOL

Dec 27 11 - 12:04pm
Cpt.Douchenozzle

That was pretty awesome, if for nothing else, than to escape the reality for a bit.

Dec 30 11 - 9:47am
Chan

Skeptical, but still an interesting read.

Jan 02 12 - 11:04am
D.Caf

This is clearly a contrived work of fiction. I can't believe you gullible Nerve readers buy any of it.

Jan 11 12 - 7:26pm
rhonda

fun fact: if you stick your boner into an actual can of spam (the fake meat kind, not the email kind) your boner will actually turn green

Jan 12 12 - 3:44pm
Not Rhonda

I imagine it was hard on her too. She should have been busy working, saving her best penis puns for our spam boxes. Instead she was caught wasting time.