The Norman Transcript

November 2, 2012

Spamalot


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Unlike Latin, English is a living language, which means the meaning of words change over time.

Since education also has “evolved,” fewer people study Latin. Unless your profession requires the use of Latin, like priests and lawyers, or you translate scholarly works from Latin to Lebanese or some other current language, you may be part of the crowd happy in the knowledge that Latin is a dead language.

I wish it had remained dead during my formative years because my parents spoke fluent Latin. You know the “little pitchers have big ears” mindset. Naturally, I felt compelled to outsmart them and took Latin in high school and college. It was hard work, but came in handy when I studied other romance languages such as French or Italian.

Then my parents switched to German because by then my German was rusty. I was “cursed” with smart parents.

In English, seemingly simple words such as “bomb” which traditionally was applied to a missile that blew things up can now mean “awesome,” “cool” or “I messed up.” Imagine having someone tell you “You da bomb.” If you aren’t familiar with the current meaning, you might frown and wonder if you had a flatulent moment and unknowingly stunk up the place.

In his toddler years, my youngest brother owned a toy school bus and the sign on the side read “The Gay Little School Bus.” Clearly, that adjective has evolved to mean something other than just “happy.”

Let’s examine the word “spam.” Not too long ago, the word referred to a food staple that not only has an almost cult-like following, but includes cook-off competitions and other spam related contests. This canned product is a combination of meat and ham, hence the work “spam.” It is one of those versatile you love it or hate it foods.

But the poor, unsuspecting word has evolved into an inedible, unwanted, annoying and unsolicited form of mass emailing. Such emails clog our inboxes and waste our valuable time. Even if they are sequestered into a “spam” or “junk mail” file, we still have to waste time deleting them.

Not too long ago, I heard and read about people who received emails offering to share a large sum of money with the recipients provided they were willingly to send some of their money to the originator of the email, who supposedly live in Kenya or Somalia. I felt left out because I had never received such emails.

Well, that changed.

Now, I have been included in the fold and receive such emails. They are poorly written using incorrect grammar and spelling, and are so obviously a scam. How can people believe such claptrap?

I am also the unhappy recipient of so many offers for Viagra and similar products that if I were a man and purchased everything such emails offer, it would be difficult to walk. At first, I wondered why I was receiving those emails. After all, I am a female and my name should be the first clue. But then common sense or attention to such pesky detail is sorely lacking on the part of the spammers.

Reminds me of the years I attended Villanova University, which at the time was an all- male university. One fine day, I received a Selective Service Card in the mail address to Mr. Elizabeth Kovach. Again, the sender (a.k.a. government) was sloppy and made an incorrect assumption: this person attends Villanova. Villanova is an all-male university. Hence, Elizabeth is a male. Wrong Bozo.

If we were ever curious about the underbelly of society, the spams will enlighten us beyond our worst nightmares. Whatever lowlife activity may tickle your fancy or turn you off, the spammers are there for you.

Apologies to the hilarious 1975 Monty Python movie “Spamalot” for borrowing their title, but as you may have noticed our modern version of spam-a-lot is not amusing.

Elizabeth is an author and freelance writer. Visit her website, www.elizabethcowan.com. Like her page, www.facebook/liz.cowan/author. Check out her new novel, “The Dionysus Connection” on Amazon.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.