Yesterday I was going through my inbox - most of it just spam or MySpace alerts - and an email with a delectably saucy subject line caught my eye. "Hot Australian News" it proclaimed. My mind raced. What could it be? Had Chrissy Amphlett made a comeback by urinating in public? Was Savage Garden reforming? Did Olivia Newton-John find her missing husband? Was an interesting artist representing Australia this year at the Venice Biennale?
No such luck. The said email came from Ronnie. Just Ronnie. No surname. Oh dear - has that boy who picked on me at school found me through School Friends Dot Com? Has he resurfaced all these years later to remind me with his petty taunts that my nipples are still high-beaming like they were that fateful day on the school's volleyball court. That fateful day, where ball sports meet water. You know the rest.
But this is no Ronnie from my barely suppressed past. Not even one of the two Ronnies. The suspense was killing me, and while I suspected Ronnie was just another thorny weed in the spam-a-lot gardens of my bulging inbox, I decided to take the risk and open his so-called hot Aussie news.
And hot it was. So much so that it inspired some really cutting edge collage.
SYDNEY, March 11, 2007 08:56pm (AEDT) - The Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard have survived a heart attack. Mr Howard, 67 years old, was at Kirribilli House in Sydney, his prime residence, when he was suddenly stricken. Mr Howard was taken to the Royal North Shore Hospital where the best surgeons of Australia are struggling for his life.
Click on the link below to get the latest information on the health of the Prime Minister:
The Australian - keeping the nation informed [this bit was hyperlinked]
The Hon John Winston Howard became in as Prime Minister of Australia on 11 March 1996, becoming the 25th person to occupy the office of Prime Minister since Federation. This followed the Coalition's decisive Federal election victory on 2 March 1996...
[then more boring bio... to paste it all here would contaminate this blog big time].
It just seemed too phony (and grammatically incorrect) to be true, so I resisted clicking on the hyperlink for fear I'd download a heart attack of my own. Good detective I am, I went straight to Google and typed in four words: John Howard heart attack. The first story to emerge details the "phishing bait" scam. (Not sure what 'phishing' is so don't ask... All I know is since 'fat' was spelled 'phat' by the once-cool hip-hop kids of yesterday, I have been intrinsically suspicious of any 'ph' combinations).
As one of the articles about the hoax email reports, "The phishing scam attempts to redirect visitors to a site which claims to be for the newspaper The Australian, but which was actually registered in Canada on February 14 this year... News-driven tactics have become increasingly common, as phishers seek to convince users that their messages are valid. Recent examples have included the US Superbowl and storms in Europe as topics. Many phishing mails direct users to sites which install trojan software which can take over their PCs and be used to form botnets for the further sending of spam."
So this all happened about a month ago. Poor John Howard's been in hospital all that time, and I get the email only yesterday. If phishy-dish spammers did their fucking job properly - and on time - I could have at least been urged into sending my heartfelt, homemade 'get well' card on time.