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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Spam (not the meat) (11/03/11)

TITLE: Contest, Colleges, Cruises and Craziness
By Leola Ogle
11/15/11
~10th Place


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She stood behind the podium, as she did every Sunday morning, church bulletin in hand, and made the currents announcements to the congregation. To those that actually read the church bulletin, the information she was providing was redundant. But for the other 90% of the congregation, making announcements from the pulpit is a must.

“She” is the pastor’s wife, but she’s also my daughter. Because I know her so well, I could tell that she seemed a bit nervous. Finishing her announcements, she closed the bulletin and began.

“Uh, some of you may have recently gotten emails from me about certain medicines, only they weren’t from me. My email got hacked, these were spam….offering male….well, never mind. I changed my email address, so disregard anything from the old email address.”

I couldn’t help but smile. Her mother-in-law, a widow, had recently gotten married. Both bride and groom, well into their seventies, were one of the recipients of this spam supposedly from my daughter offering a certain male medicine.

My daughter got a terse email from her mother-in-law stating, “No thanks, I think we’re fine!” Only my daughter had no idea what she was referring to. She soon found out, after placing a phone call.

I had also gotten one those emails, supposedly from her, but knew she wouldn’t have sent anything like that. I have to admit, being of the older generation, I was a little behind when use of the internet first gained popularity. Emails? I loved writing those long, newsy letters by hand.

However, once I mastered the use of the internet and emails, I wondered what took me so long. It didn’t take long to realize that just as I had gotten an abundance of useless junk mail, I got useless emails called spam, and some downright scams.

Imagine my shock the first time I returned from a vacation to discover that I had over two hundred emails. Perhaps I should’ve checked my emails while on vacation (like I do now, compliments of a laptop, WiFi and my Blackberry), but like the mail delivered by my friendly postal carrier, I assumed it would just have to wait until I got home.

Still somewhat fascinated with the whole email concept, I decided to read everything. Not a good idea! It was time consuming, pretty boring and delayed me unpacking those darned suitcases, which, by the way, are more fun to pack than unpack. Maybe I’ll put that bit of useless information in an email and send it to everyone on my contact list.

“How in the world did all these people and companies get my email address?” I shouted to no one in particular. No one answered, but my husband did chuckle.

“What’s wrong, honey?” he asked.

“Well, apparently I have won five or six contests that I never entered. Four colleges are begging me to enroll, promising that the government will pay my tuition. I will be able to go to the Grand Canyon and Disneyland with my new motorized cart, once I buy it. I don’t need a doctor anymore because I can order any number of medicines on line, and for much cheaper prices than I’m paying now. There are only a few spots left on an Alaskan cruise so I need to make reservations immediately. Wal-Mart is having a gigantic electronics sale, Sears has half price appliances, and JC Penney is having their biggest sale ever. I have several credit card companies clamoring for my business. Someone in Nigeria wants my bank account information so they can send me $50,000 if I just send them $1000 first. I received a form to enter a beauty contest for the low fee of $20, which I assume must be for grandmas because that’s what I am. Two banks have put a freeze on my accounts because I haven’t updated my personal information, which is weird because we don’t bank with them. I can get ten CDs for a dollar each if I join a club, plus I have the same offer from a book club.”

Out of breath, I turned my stricken eyes upon my husband. “And the absolute worst thing of all - Jesus will think that I don’t love Him if I don’t forward at least ten of these emails.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 11/17/11
This was good and so true.

Nicely done. God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/17/11
This is great. You did a great hob of covering this difficult topic. You had me laughing out loud at many points. I LOVE the last line!
Theresa Santy 11/21/11
Oh, yes I laughed and laughed. From the second paragraph on, I was rolling.

At first, I wasn't sure what about the first paragraph made me stall, ever so slightly. I read it again and again, and I think what's happening (at least in my mind) is that the second and third sentences are pulling me away from the story. They can easily be deleted.

But like I said, from the second paragraph on, you had me. The piece flowed and I rolled.

LOVED the last line.
Yvonne Blake 11/24/11
Ha Ha...great ending!
It's sad that often the older generation are the victims hackers and spammers.
This is well written.
annie keys11/25/11
Bahahahahahaha! SoooOOOooo loved this article! And the last line---that was just way too perfect! (rolling my eyeballs) Good job!
CD Swanson 12/01/11
Nicely done- congratulations!
God Bless~
Robert Johnson12/01/11
Great Job! Congratulations on your victory. Awesome read and so very true. Thanks.
Leola Ogle 12/01/11
Oh my! I am soooo excited to get 1st place in Level 3. At 9:00 AM Arizona time, that sound you heard was me whooping and hollering and doing the happy dance when I saw I got 1st. Very blessed and humbling, for me at least! Thanks so much to everyone for your nice comments, especially the constructive critiques. Love you all!
Danielle King 12/01/11
And another congratulations from me so you can whoop and holler some more. Well done!