Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This is Going to Sound Weird, but...

Last week, one of my favorite clients sent me an email. She let me know that they’d soon be “adding a sub-domain to their splash page,” and so… she might need my help with some language. Before ending her missive, she commented on the jargon she was using, and I could sense that her eyes were rolling with irony and amusement as she typed.

I appreciated what drove her comment about the jargon. The fact of the matter is, she and I have laughed – for a few years now – over our common (and often reluctant) emergence from the luddite trenches. Both of us baby boomers, we are doing our best to keep up with the times.

That same day last week, I sent an email to another client. This particular email was sent to assuage my client’s concerns. I wanted to ensure her that I had not missed a prospective grantmaker’s automatic reply to our online Stage One application. In fact, I had retrieved that reply from my “Suspect Mail” just an hour before my client sent her relatively alarmed message.

“Don’t worry,” I shared, typing quickly before hitting SEND, “I check my spam at least four times a day.”

And that’s when it hit me.

Imagine, for a minute…

Imagine if, 15 years ago, someone had said to you, “I check my spam at least four times a day.”

How many red flags?

Okay, the first and most obvious one is the OCD flag. And, mind you, I’m not belittling that issue; I’ve got some of my own OCD manifestations. I’m big on expiration dates, for example. (Don’t get me started.) And, the checking thing? There’s a pre-departure routine that revolves around my kitchen; I always do it at least three times.

So, okay, that’s one way the statement might have seemed alarming 15 years ago. The “checking” … The “four times a day”…

But what about the reference to spam?

And what's in those cans, anyway? Does that weird meat concept even exist anymore?

(Pardon me while I do a Google search...)

I’m back, folks, and guess what. Spam does exist anymore. Not only that, it was the first hit!

Forward-thinkers, those meat canners. How smart they were to grab the domain of “” and make it their own before the cyber-geeks had a chance to take it and run with it. Damn. Good for Spam. But still, I’m not quite sure what it is… And, that site of theirs (however primary on the search results page) isn’t helping.

(Pardon me while I go to Wikipedia…)

Okay, I can’t possibly paraphrase (nor do I want to, really), so I’ll just share here what we might as well call the Wiki Executive Summary of Spam. (And if this whets your appetite, I strongly suggest a nutrition counselor.)

Spam is a canned precooked meat product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation. The labeled ingredients in the classic variety of Spam are chopped pork shoulder meat with ham meat added, salt, water, modified potato starch as a binder, and sodium nitrite to help keep its color. Spam’s gelatinous glaze, or aspic, forms from the cooling of meat stock. The product has become part of many jokes and urban legends about mystery meat, which has made it part of pop culture and folklore.

Pop culture and folklore, huh?

It’s kinda nice to know those concepts have a shelf life in our fast-paced cyberworld.

… I’ve never eaten Spam, and I don’t think I ever will (despite its undoubtedly seductive gelatinous glaze). And so I am especially glad that there aren’t seven or eight cans of it confronting me when I peer into the kitchen cupboard. If there were, I’d have to throw those cans in the trash. I’d have to make room for the seven or eight more that are likely to appear out of nowhere in the next several hours.


A Post Script to my Post: It's still Wednesday (barely, here on the West Coast), and what I've come to share has nothing to do with spam. Just want to alert you to my being a featured guest blogger on Eliza's Silver & Grace website, which is dedicated to "guiding graceful women into beautiful aging." Eliza has deemed me "spunky," which is not -- to my knowledge -- a synonym for "grace." Regardless, she is kindly featuring my little rant on menopause, which I originally posted here, some months ago. Go there, enjoy, and check out her site!


Anonymous said...

Oh dear, you really made me laugh today Katie. I loved your ‘be right back’ google and Wickie checks as you wrote. Mind you, never eaten Spam? LOL! - as children, we regularly had spam though I am not sure I ever liked it all that much. I can still remember the taste. It reminds me of tea at my Grandma's! Cold meat and salad always included ‘spam’.
It suppose it was cheap, not that we were poor, but don't forget I was born only shortly after rationing had ceased over here. Haven't seen it for years.
My my, I look forward to your posts – always something to tickle the tastebuds!

Optimal Optimist said...

Hi Katie! Thanks for the comment on my post today. I am loving your blog and your style of writing...I'll definitely be back to read your future posts!

Don't Print That! said...

Spam is cheap pate. I'll bet if you check the date on Spam can it's from WWII!

The Brits still dine on "beans on toast." Another vintage dish.

Martha said...

Spam is central to one very funny Monty Python sketch. It obviously was not at home as we were growing up, Katie, but I think (think?) I have tasted Spam. Not nice, if I remember correctly. Belongs in the same category of "not nice food" as Vienna sausages.

raindance said...

ha HAAA! so funny. I have, unfortunately, had spam. Deep fried no less. ah, college. Such an interesting experience.

I like that the kitchen is three times and spam is four. what's five?! :)

Sherry said...

You made me laugh and I don't eat meat, let alone SPAM. Great story, and ironic, because my post on Friday is also about SPAM!


Anonymous said...

That Monty Phython skit was crazy. Haven't even thought of Spam as Spam in years so am not sure whether to thank you for this or not. :P

Cheryl said...

Speaking of jargon, do you realize google and wiki didn't exist back when spam was spam and no one in their right mind actually ate it?

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

Ooh, 'gelatinous glaze'... ick!

You are bang on, and boy does stuff like this make me feel middle aged... ooh, my crikey back...

Deb Shucka said...

This is so funny. Both the casual usage of tech terms which we used to not even see as real words, and the riff on spam.

It was a regular part of our dinners growing up - fried with baked beans, sometimes between two slices of bread with mayonnaise. I know.

Jeanie said...

HI, Katie,

First, thanks for visiting The Marmelade Gypsy! Much of my job takes me into the fundraising (and online) arenas too. So not only am I particularly impressed that you've even had TIME to write a novel (much less do anything with it after!) but you also manage your blog and your job! And this post totally cracked me up! Cheers!