I was looking through my e-mail over the weekend. I’ve used Eudora since way back when. Now I’m on version 6.0 and the junk mail feature works quite well, there are only a few spam messages every day which slip through its filter… and it’s even rarer to have a legitimate message considered as spam.
Even so, I usually skip through the junk folder every day or so to see if something important slipped through… most of my correspondents know well enough that they shouldn’t send me HTML mail or .doc attachments, but sometimes they forget. This time, I found a message from somebody who shall remain nameless… the text (in Portuguese) said something like:
Hey Ima student at <Clueless University> and my prof told us to write about Massintoch Computer I hear your the great Masintosh guru here. Can you write me the HISTORI and about IMPORTANCE of Macintoch Computer and what does Appel mean anyway? I need 3 pages for tomorrow please this is IMPORTANT.
Well, I’m not famous enough to get more than a few of those every year, but this time it reminded me of a few other, much more famous, recipients of this sort of thing. The canonical page is, of course, the Titanium Cranium Awards page, written by John Walker, the guy who founded AutoDesk and wrote the first version of AutoCAD. Here’s a sample of what John has to put up with:
From clueless @ aol.com Thu Oct 26 00:58:50 1995
Hi, I need some pictures Science, and you guys have the article but do you have the pictures to go with it! Please write me back today, if not even now to confirm this! This information is needed to me today, so please could write me back today, or RIGHT NOW-right now would help me a lot, if you guys could!
From clueless @ college.ac.jp Thu Nov 16 12:38:39 1995
Subject: Cross country dividend – retained earnings comparitive survey
I need data on dividend payments and retained earnings
relative net income for about 100- 500 corporations
listed on each of the major stock markets; London, New
York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, ect.
Do you know if or where this kind of data might be
found on the web?
I am deeply moved by your need, as well as your unwillingness to do your own research.
and, best of all:
From: clueless @ slic.com
Subject: Help with regents project
Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 22:26:30 -0400
To whom this may concern:
Hi! My name is Moonflower Clueless. I would like to ask you a few
questions about constellations and their movements. I am doing
constellations for my earth science regents project. I chose to do the
constellation of Orion. I was wondering if you could answer or try to help
me understand constellations a little better, so here are some questions:
1) How do the stars move as the earth rotates and revolves?
2) What are stars and constellations made up of?
3) If the stars are always in the sky, than why can we only see them at night?
4) What does the magnitude of a star mean?
5) Are constellations grouped?
6) Are the constellations all the same age. If not, what are the youngest
7) How do you figure out how to measure the angle of Orion on your own sketches?
Thank you for reading my letter. I hope to see a response soon. I have one more
question? Can you try to get me some pictures and or data of Orion.
P.S. I would like a response A.S.A.P., please.
If I do your homework, do I get your diploma?
By a coincidence, over the weekend I also was rereading Janis Ian‘s excellent website, and stumbled upon one of her articles I hadn’t seen before: Silly Questions to Artists. It seems that in-person questions can be even sillier than e-mail… here’s a sample:
Would you have dinner with me after the show so I can invite my school/family/friends to meet you? I don’t have any money, you’ll have to pay.
Would you come home with me after the show so I can introduce you to my family/see what you look like in regular clothes/sleep with you?
Why aren’t you more famous? I would be.
Did you watch our high school football game during the show?
Don’t you remember me? I met you after the show in Phoenix in 1978. I was in the front row.
How much is that fifteen dollar CD? (Usually said standing in front of the price sign.)
Can you lend me some money to buy your stuff, I’ll send you a check next month.
Could you send me a cassette of your last show so I can see if I want to go to one?
These are on my list of pages to reread when I need a laugh…