A Time for Spam

I was deleting a typical round of spam in my Thunderbird junk folder this morning, and I saw a subject line that caught my eye.  Thunderbird does a pretty good job of filtering spam and other unwanted emails, so I typically don’t spend much time going through them.  But I can’t seem to just delete them without at least a brief glance to make sure there’s not a random mis-placed message from a long-lost friend mixed in with the myriad unwanted solicitations for drugs, investment schemes, all things porn, and, um, bodily enhancement products.

As a result, I’ve seen some pretty funny misspellings (most are intentional to try to get past filters) of key words and phrases in subject lines.  But one this morning looked odd to me.  The subject line read “Brand Names in Horology.”  I wasn’t sure what Horology was, and I stopped for a second to think about it.  I’m a pretty big reader, and I have a decent vocabulary, so anytime I come across a word I don’t know, I usually try to look it up.  Horology…it stumped me.  I thought they’d misspelled something (again with the porn?) or maybe combined horoscope and astrology to form a new word.  I was surprised to find out that horology is the study of time and includes the science of clock-making.  Someone was trying to sell me brand name watches.

OK, so what have I learned from this?  First, I should keep glancing through subject lines of spam before deleting them, not only to scan for old friends but now to learn new words.  Second, Thunderbird has a better vocabulary than I do.  It knew this spam was simply hawking fake Rolexes and TAG Heuers, no matter how intelligent the spammer was trying to sound.

Way to go Thunderbird…keep up the good work.  Or better yet: Maintain your excellence in garbology.

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