November 27th, 2018. 7:18 p.m. It’s a Tuesday. As finals begin to loom on the December horizon, my concept of time is slowly being reduced to countdowns. Six days until I’m murdered by my fourth SLS 20 exam. Fifteen days till my Stat 110 final spits on my corpse. And 24 days until CS 61 defiles my grave by digging me up and changing my shoes to crocs.
I’ve been studying for a solid eight minutes, so I decide to reward myself with 30 minutes of alternative productivity. For all of those who are unaware, this is when you procrastinate by doing something that’s technically productive, like cleaning your room or stalking your crush on Facebook, but clearly not what you need to be focusing on at the moment.
Catching up on emails is the perfect choice. I open my account to see 292 unread emails in my spam folder. Obviously, I have to diligently go through each and every one of these to make sure it’s not important. Cracking my knuckles, I take a deep breath to still my soul and prepare to stomach the electronic smörgåsbord of scam-bots, spam-bots, and sex-bots crowding the filter.
I get to work.
“Rebecca just unlocked her private video for you She wants to F*ck”: Deleted.
“Get cash now, $20,000. No risk! $$$!!!”: Deleted.
“Hey you f*cking loser! Wanna learn to talk to girls??”: Moved to inbox.
“HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA Rebecca Wants To Be Your F*CKBUDDY”: Deleted.
You know you’re in for a lot of emails when Rebecca has already emailed twice. But I can’t help but smile; it’s messages like these that remind me of my father.
Wait. Not like that.
I’m talking about spam emails in general. He’s the one who actually signed me up for all this junk, and, as a glutton starved for affection, I encouraged him do it.
September 16th, 2013. 3:45 p.m. It’s a Monday. In high schoolese that loosely translates to four more days till Friday.
I’ve been studying for a total of eight minutes, so I decide to reward myself with video games. I plug in my Xbox ready to cruise the streets of San Andreas until I hear my dad calling me. I race out of my room, thunder down our zig-zag staircase, and briefly compose myself before I gingerly knock on the door as I walk in.
He greets me with a “Happy Birthday” that’s so casual I almost miss it. Before I can even respond, he goes on to explain that he’s won me a gift. I look on his laptop to see huge text:
CONGRADULATION YOUR OUR 1 MILLIONTH VISITOR
ENTER YOUR EMAIL ADRESS FOR A FREE IPAD
I take a second to appreciate the artistic choices taken in spelling. Then, I face a lot of turmoil. Almost every instinct in body is telling me to take the offer.
Now, you might be thinking, Why would you sign up for such an obvious scam? How does your dad not know that this is fake? Did you really move that email to your inbox?
1. My dad is technologically illiterate. It’s okay; he’s literally the smartest person I know. But at the end of the day he’s like 84 and could tell you what World War II was like. Back then, people were still using Zunes. And, even as recent as 2010, he thought LOL stood for “Lord oh Lord.”
2. My dad is the most intimidating man I’ve ever met. Not in the like 6’8” tatted up and could-bench-a-house type of way, but in the “I-will-never-amount-to-as-much-as-you-and-I’m-sorry-for-wasting-space-with-my-incompetence kind of way.” Most of the time, correcting him goes against the natural order.
3. Most importantly, my dad never does this type of stuff. He travels a lot for work — growing up there were some periods where he was gone for more than 80 percent of the year. He knows I’m the tech kid in my family, so it’s actually one of the nicest birthday gifts he’s ever personally handed me.
So I have the important decision to make. Do I tell my dad the truth and dash his efforts out of convenience like some heartless beast, or do I endure a barrage of spam emails for the sake of deepening our familial bond?
I sign myself up, and hit enter only to be presented with a field demanding my phone number, too. My will wavers for a moment. God is clearly punishing me for my hubris. To think I, a mere mortal, could appease my father with a simple email address. I clearly must double down to show the gods my sincerity. I type in my 10 digits and am awarded with a new website asking for credit card information if I want a free Macbook.
I turn to my dad with an Oscar-winning performance of shock and disgust as I explain that I don’t think it worked. Our shared disappointment becomes the catalyst for shared laughter and then a shared meal.
He makes delicious mini-sandwiches for the two of us. They fill me to the brim with food and fatherly love in the same way that my spam folder would soon be filled with fuckbuddy solicitations.
And after all these years you might ask if it was worth it, if I would do things the same way if I could go back in time.And I can say with complete and utter honesty that I definitely took the L on that one — what the fuck was I thinking?
November 26th, 2018. 7:48 p.m. I’ve made my way through a total of 291 emails. After 30 minutes of exposure to this dark side of humanity, my soul is weak, and my spirit is yielding. I’ve been ready to quit for 200 emails, but through sheer willpower I go on to read the last one.
“Want Daddy’s LOVE?? CLicK hEre fOR...” Deleted.
Sorry xXxSexyBear69xXx, I already have it.