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Virtual Viagra and all that bumf

PUBLISHED: 06:23 19 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:45 03 March 2010

IT'S a great disappointment to me that I have never yet won a £250,000 jackpot, a new car, or even an engraved pen in any draw run by Reader's Digest, Time or the Little Glemham parish magazine.

IT'S a great disappointment to me that I have never yet won a £250,000 jackpot, a new car, or even an engraved pen in any draw run by Reader's Digest, Time or the Little Glemham parish magazine.

And this despite having been "chosen" by some kindly computer for the latter stages of some such draw every year since Margaret Thatcher was leader of the Opposition and Saddam Hussein officially a friend of America.

Mind you, my hopes are double this year. I am into the sixth and final round of the Reader's Digest lucky dip not once but twice - once in my own name at my own address, and once in something very like my name at an address very like mine.

And this despite never having read a page of Reader's Digest outside a surgery waiting-room.

These free draws may be a complete nonsense, but at least they provide a few moments of mild entertainment every few months.

Unlike the instant rubbish which drops through my letterbox almost every day from companies wanting me to take out a loan, change my insurance, cover my house with a waterproof coating, change my electricity supplier or get a new credit card.

If any worker for any such company happens to be reading this, let me make it clear now: I DO NOT WANT TO BUY YOUR PRODUCT.

If I did want any of these things, I would make sure I got them from someone who doesn't bury my doormat under piles of pointless bumf.

I reckon at most a fifth of the post carried around the country by the Royal Mail brings any use or joy to anyone.

The rest isn't even really bumf. It's mostly far too hard and shiny to wipe your bottom on, and I dread to think what it would do to the septic tank if you tried to flush it away.

THE even greater quantity of junk that lands daily in my computer in-tray seems relatively benign at first.

No forests were despoiled to create it, and no landfill sites are threatened with overflowing by its deletion.

It is of course unwanted and often pretty tasteless - which is no doubt why it is called spam.

But it can also be quite amusing.

Hardly a day goes by when I am not offered the enlargement of the distinctively male part of my anatomy. Or indeed the distinctively female parts.

I have not checked out the "virtual Viagra" I am often invited to try.

And I have enough faith in my employers (and I hope they have enough faith in me) to assume they can see through the nastier unsolicited mail.

This is the stuff offering anything from "up-skirt" piccies of "celebrities" to farmyard shots of girls getting abnormally intimate with animals.

This (though I have not examined it too closely, even in the interests of research) is presumably stuff you would not want addressed to your children.

If an email from someone you have never heard of has the subject line "Here are the pictures you requested" or "In reply to the questionnaire you filled in", bin it unopened.

(Note to boss: I didn't request those pictures, or fill in that questionnaire. I wouldn't abuse my own time and equipment that way, let alone yours.)

SOMEONE out there must reckon they know a thing or two about me. Actually, several someones, because I keep getting the same message and it always comes from someone different.

It says it's been on Oprah (which I never watch, so I wouldn't know) and even reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (which I never read, so I wouldn't know).

"It" is "a quality health product" which offers: body fat loss; wrinkle reduction; increased energy levels; muscle strength improvement; increased sexual potency; improved emotional stability; better memory.

It has a website address, which I'd tell you if I could remember it.

In summary, it promises to "reverse all the ravages of aging all at once".

You wouldn't want to take too much of it, then.

Enough to be 21 again might be OK (especially if it came with that improved emotional stability so I could do it better this time round).

But what if you overdid it and suddenly found you'd become a mewling and puking infant once more?

Or even worse – which might necessitate an urgent dosing of mother too?

On the whole I think I'd rather go on aging disgracefully.


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