My 1996 Spam Filter
When I was a sophomore in high school, I took the PSAT. That’s the “preliminary SAT” – you know, so you can indicate interest in schools, areas of study, demonstrate that you’re a super-genius. Well, I don’t remember how I did but I do remember seeing the results come back in the mail, addressed to Chas Grundyy. They added an extra “y” on the end of my last name, probably because it was manually keyed in back then.
Within a few weeks, I started getting the usual bombardment of college marketing materials. Heavy viewbooks, course catalogs, postcards, and brochures started crowding my mailbox. And all of them were addressed to Chas Grundyy. I threw them all away – they bought my info from the PSAT.
Years later, I started getting email addressed to Chas Grundyy, presumably linked to my email through some massive data warehouse. These were invariably spam.
The funny thing is that I still get these in the mail and in my email. Today I received one, and knew right away to delete it. It’s second nature now. But for a brief moment I paused and recalled that crisp fall day in high school when I discovered my best spam filter.