flavor-flavWell, it would seem that the spam industry has managed to avoid these perilous financial times. How? How do they thrive? I was busy posing this question to the fish in the aquarium this morning, and it sent me into something of a tangent, followed by eight cups of coffee and a case of the shakes. I’ve read books on “permission marketing”, studied different methods of closing sales, even went on a few tirades against the car dealership guerrilla-scream-style ad pitching, and have come to the same conclusion each time: if you want to move a product or service, there is a segment of the population that will tolerate the invasion of their time, space and dignity. The rest of us just get vaguely annoyed by this reality; I secretly pray for dudes in purple robes and Nikes to take the salesmen with them on their next trip on a comet’s tail.

In the meantime, I can always change channels on the tube. I can judiciously avoid people in white shirts, black pants and skinny ties riding bicycles (I know Mormons on a mission, I do), and I can keep watching for comet sightings, but the one thing my spam filter on the computer seems intent on saving for my viewing pleasure is a fine selection of “people” who are interested in selling me “replica” watches. My mother, bless her heart, has a phobia about being punctual, and I’m beginning to wonder if it is a genetically inherited trait. As a kid, I could always count on being A MINIMUM of ten minutes late to whatever event required arrival in Mom’s burgundy Peugeot (not to mention the kind of ass-whipping riding in one of these cars invited). My Mom, to be fair, is an incredibly busy woman, and there was no problem that she couldn’t tackle with a Tab cola in one hand, a Virginia Slim 100 cigarette in the other and chewing on some gum. But she just might be a little late in tackling said problem, s’all.

As this whole “earning a living” thing and “parenting” thing have entered my life, I realize that I am running behind a lot as well. I chalk it up to training for the life of a superstar. Who wants to be the first at a party? Not Sean Connery, and not me. The only time I demand to be early is when going to a movie or a concert; it drives The Wife nuts that I am perfectly content to sit in a theater bar and get sloshed two hours before Alison Krauss even gets off her bus. And if I miss the previews of a movie, I might just skip that showing all together….it makes no sense, I know. In all other aspects, I get there when I can (exception #3: the firehouse, or responding to a call, in case you’re keeping track). And somehow, the spam hustlers know this. I don’t even get your typical ads for male enhancement, nobody is trying to sell me off-brand hair plugs and I only OCCASIONALLY get the message from my Nigerian prince buddy that I am in line to get, like, six million dollars if only I wire him two thousand. But the Replica Watch people, they know. They know me, apparently. Because even though I have no intention of ever clicking on their site, even though I’ve not purchased a watch since 2006 (not even a replica…it was the real deal. Real Swiss Army, that is), day after day, they are lurking in my inbox, ready to sell me that which I apparently need.

The whole thing is kind of triggering my paranoia switches. If they know I am chronically behind out there on the so-called Internet, what else do they know? I bet “they” know all kinds of things about me, which I’d rather keep to myself; only you and I know how much I loathe the concepts of Mega-Churches, McMansions and Maniacal Fearmongers. If this knowledge gets made known to “them”, I will have to triple the defenses against the Jim Bakkers, the strip-mall developers and the weird old dudes who call into talk radio blathering about the end times being signaled by the election of Obama. And who in the world has time for that?

I’m late as it is.