Ads do not add to our wellbeing

(Note to readers: I realize I have expounded upon this topic before. But email ads are so annoying that it is impossible to complain adequately in a mere 800 words. Hence the redundancy.)

It is so nice to know that sentient entities can learn from other sentient entities. For instance, apes have learned sign language from human beings. All apes and most human beings count as sentient entities. And apes are very much like human beings except they are somewhat nicer and have better table manners.

Another example is plumbing. Before this year, all I knew about plumbing was we what call the Brewer Corollary on Plumbing. This is named after the late, great David Brewer who had his own troubles with water and pipes and keeping one inside the other. In short, the Brewer Corollary states “Water runs downhill and (expletive for you-know-what) runs everywhere.” Recently I have learned how to install a faucet. Water does indeed run downhill and also runs through the tiniest, most minute opening in a drain seal and forms a puddle the size of which is way out of proportion to the size of that minute opening. The most important thing I have learned about plumbing is that I do not care for plumbing.

A sad thing to report is that telemarketers who, technically fall somewhere far below apes on the scale of desirable sentient beings, have spread their nasty evil craft to the folks who haunt the Internet. As we all have sadly found out, the National Do Not Call list is the biggest joke since … well, it is the biggest joke in recent memory. The FCC, which is commissioned to police this and assess fines against the deserving, is instead apparently in cahoots with those who want to supply all of us with back braces, strong pain meds, cheap insurance, and land in Florida. I used to call the FCC to report offenders. This was good for exactly one thing. It gave me something to do during the four hours a day I wasn’t answering phone calls from telemarketers. (I feel compelled to answer phone calls from unknown callers because nearly everything I own is for sale. Would anyone be interested in buying a slightly damaged telemarketer?)

Now, every time (and by every time, I mean hourly) I check my email I am treated to about a half dozen ads for what can only be called stuff. This is a recent development in my world of emails. I do have a junk file where things like this are supposed to end up. This file does filter some things but not nearly enough. It needs to screen out the time shares, the face creams, the cruises, the investment opportunities, and the no-work college degrees. After the splashy ad comes the small print. Literally. Way down there at the bottom are instructions on how to opt out of future emails. One way is to sit down and write a letter and send it to the offender asking to be taken off the mailing list.

I consider myself an optimist most of the time but even Pollyanna would have a tough time believing this would work. What writing a letter would do is give the perpetrators your mailing address so they could also bombard you with junk mail of the paper variety. Thank you, no. Just adjacent to the mail-in address is a link to press to “unsubscribe.” I have difficulty with this. “Unsubscribe”? I didn’t subscribe in the first place. Why is it my job to unsubscribe? The link often, but not always, takes you to a place to enter the email you wish them to take off their list. Every once in a while, though, it takes you to a darker, deeper place where there is no opportunity to unsubscribe. Now you’ve opened their link which is the modern-day version of Pandora’s box. All the evils of the world or at least the Internet (which is practically the same thing) escape.

And to the eternal dismay of the fat-fingered among us, the link to unsubscribe is less than one micron away from the link that says “Tell me more.” What I’d really like to do is tell them more, but I’m on hold with the FCC.