The Nose is not a violent man, but he does fantasize. Lately, he has been dreaming about finding one "Brett Abraham" and slicing three inches off his schwang. He's had visions of tracking down "Christine Kirby" and tossing a carton of burning "cheap cigs" into her apartment. He's mused about finding "Archie Vasquez" and shoving $99 worth of Xanax down his gullet.
These are just three of the shadowy pantywaists who crashed the gates of the Nose's home over the weekend. They didn't use their real names. They didn't leave a legitimate business card. And they filled up his email box with vulgarities, cheap come-ons and gibberish. If John Ashcroft really cared about the well-being of red-blooded Americans, he would hunt down these cyber-snipers and drop them in a Kurdish cell.
The Nose realizes he's being rash. He's sure his safety is more threatened by some Algerian extremist with a shoulder-fired missile, or by the driver in the next lane on McLoughlin juggling his Nokia and cappuccino.
Still, the Nose is developing carpal tunnel syndrome from holding down the delete button on his iMac.
Between 5 pm last Friday and 9 am Monday, his work account received 336 emails. Of those, 31 were news tips, press releases, internal messages and other legitimate business. Four were from relatives. And the other 301?
Evidence that half of this country's workforce is trying to hawk underage Asian women and cheap mortgages.
Here's a sample of what greeted the Nose when he logged on Saturday afternoon:
Spam filters are useless against these cunning armies of the email night. They type in subject headings like "Our meeting today" when they are trying to sell OxyContin. They use spellings such as P:ENl,S and P()rN to slip past the filters.
Last week, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden helped push one of the nation's first anti-spam bills through the U.S. Senate on a 97-0 vote. Senate Bill 877, which now moves to the House, would ban emails pitching fraudulent scams, bogus penis pills and smut. It would require senders to include a valid opt-out mechanism and criminalize attempts to avoid detection and filters.
Some spam-haters say Wyden's bill won't do a thing. Others say it's a good first step. Everyone agrees that, at best, it will only slow down the Brett Abrahams, Christine Kirbys and Archie Vasquezes of the world.
Which is why the Nose prefers to take Teddy Roosevelt's advice when it comes to dealing with spammers: Walk softly and carry a big S:T1C,K.