Wham bam, Zam spam.
Stephen Colbert recently provided this nutritional tip: “An apple a day keeps anyone away if you throw it hard enough.” But Colbert, actors that play doctors on TV and even Reader’s Digest all know that laughter is the best medicine; or at least the best medicine you can take while operating heavy machinery. Therefore, I’m unveiling my newsletter, the Zamogram. It was previously veiled to prevent unsightly dust build-up. For your health and mine, I urge you to subscribe.
Apart from the preventive health benefits of regular guffawing, this free e-mail newsletter will alert you to the latest Zamblings and other billzam.com material, and give you access to content not available online or in print. I’ve received a lot of feedback from readers clamoring for the newsletter. Actually, clamoring may not be the right word, but it’s definitely been somewhere between an implication and a ruckus. However, I know that people’s time is limited, and that some of the busier readers are saying, “The last thing I need in my inbox is an e-mail from Zam!”
If that’s your reaction, I completely understand. Between work, home and Web site, I personally have no fewer than 11 separate e-mail addresses, which makes for more spam than a room full of Vikings can eat in a year. In this case, a year is not an arbitrary figure. When I check my e-mails, I start with the three F’s – family, friends and fans – then read the rest on a first-come, first-serve basis, meaning that my backlog dates back to November 2006.
Admittedly, some e-mails – like one urging me to pre-order the PlayStation 3 – aren’t quite as relevant 12 months later, but the majority require no urgency whatsoever. Roughly, outside of the three F’s and a few humor newsletters that I subscribe to (because subscribing to humor newsletters is a fantastic idea and you’re cool if you do it), my inbox is evenly spread among the following categories:
- Pharmaceutical promotions. I highly recommend ordering drugs online from people that spell it “medecine.” You can bet they won’t make any typos when they’re shopping with my credit card.
- Realtor offers. One word: faketor.
- Recycled humor from the 1980s Truly Tasteless Jokes book series. Every racist joke that began with a Polack, a Jamaican and a Chinaman walking into a bar now stumbles back into the street (and my inbox) 20 years later in sanitized blonde-joke format.
- Pornography solicitations. There’s nothing more disturbing than e-mails promising free smut. Except finding out the smut is not free.
- Pictures of your cats and dogs. Many of my close friends and family members would push me in front of a car if it meant saving their pet. If you plan to send me more than five pictures of your pets in costumes, please push me in front of the car in advance.
- Jesus-spondence. I don’t get much e-mail from God directly, but ironically, the cruelest e-mails I get are sent on His behalf. After nine pages reminding me to love the Lord, they end with the warning that I will be smited/smitten/smoten/smated for chain letter non-compliance. I was admittedly lost during eight years of catechism, but I don’t recall the chief tenet of Christianity being “thou shalt forward this e-mail to at least 10 people.”
- E-mails forwarded from my Mom to my Dad to me, and from my Dad to my Mom to me. Yep, they live in the same house.
- Warnings about dangerous products, scams and criminals. I used to use snopes.com to debunk these urban legends, but last time I logged on I passed out. I’m not sure whether it was caused by the fake meat I was eating from KFC or the cancer-causing deodorant I was wearing, but when I woke up I was missing a kidney.
- E-mails from Zam. Every genius idea I have when I’m not writing, I e-mail to myself. It may be apparent that nothing genius has made it to print yet. Sorry, but my self just can’t keep up with all the e-mails me is sending me.
Why would you possibly sign up for more e-mail after reading that? Because if you don’t, I’ll send my one-year-old out looking for you. He’s got a G.I. Joe Kung Fu grip, he’s crotch-high, and he’s fast. Don’t worry, I kid about my kid. I would never resort to violence unless someone really provoked me; for example, by using the word “nukular.”
The real reason for the newsletter is that I want to expand my readership, and I hope that those who like my stories will tell their friends so I can afford to write more of them. Subscribing or unsubscribing is simple. Only an e-mail address is required, and no information will ever be shared or used for anything other than billzam.com content. Plus, in contrast to the dozens of e-mails I send myself, I’ll only ask you to get a Zamogram on a monthly basis, with just an occasional off-schedule alert, such as when I’m in prison and can’t make bail. I also respond to all reader feedback, positive or negative, even if it’s only to notify you that I’ve filed a temporary restraining order against you.
Finally, I’ve got great news for those that said, “The last thing I need in my inbox is an e-mail from Zam.” The last thing in your inbox will be an e-mail from Zam – alphabetically. I’m sending the newsletter from email@example.com, so unless your Zyzzyx Road DVD shipment confirmation e-mail arrives at the same time, you can easily sort A-to-Z and move me to the end of the line. Don’t feel bad – I’ve been alphabetically disadvantaged my whole life. Read your Amazon.com and Apple e-mails first if you must, while I hang out in the back of the virtual room causing trouble. When you’ve got a special occasion for some finely aged wise-assery, uncork a vintage Zamogram. I recommend the peanut greejio. By the way, if you’re reading this in 2010, don’t forget to pre-order your PlayStation 4.