“What You Want, I Shall Give You”

May 08

Sorry to disappoint you, but no, not really.

I’m just quoting the subject of the email I got this morning, and honestly, how could I not open it? So I figured you’d do the same.

ShamanDreamstimeAlthough I suspected it might be X-rated and far too salacious for my delicate sensibilities, I ventured forth and was met with a photo of a very attractive, strong-looking guy with a bald pate (as Sherlock Holmes would say) and stylish stubble, dressed in a bright white open neck shirt. He says that he is a visionary and shaman.

The New Techno-Shamans

I always thought shamans wore feathers and beads. What do I know.

Throwing caution to the wind, I continued reading. It said:

1 0 0 % F R E E!


And did I mention that it’s free? Not only that, but: This guy’s visionary power can help you change your life.

Wanna Change Your Life?

Hey, who wouldn’t want a brand new life, presuming of course, that the new life would be better than the old one. Remember all those stories about being granted three wishes and totally messing up. Be careful, indeed, of what you wish for.

But He-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless totally guarantees that all will be well, if only you will “react and accept the help of a true visionary.” Coincidentally, just like him!

In fact, he “guarantees you to find a solution to any problem,” including but not restricted to:
Money! Love! Luck! (How about being getting lucky in love? Or just getting lucky)! Games! (Games? Well, a big win at poker could change your life I suppose) Health! Anything! 

Because, ladies and gentlemen, “Nothing can resist his powers.”

Well, somehow I resisted . . .

I didn’t “Click Here” to get my first free visionary contact with The Man. Who, I might add, is the ONLY shaman in the world (in the world!) who “proves and guarantees his results.” With him, it’s no more “blah blah, only results!” I do so hate blah blah, don’t you? Oh, and did I mention that he guarantees results that will change your life?

And yet, I didn’t click.

But it did get me thinking: About email, the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and Life Itself.
You know the saying, The more things change, the more they stay the same.
(Here it is in French, for those who want to impress: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (plu sa sha(n)zh plu say la mem shoz). How about that! This is the only blog in the world (in the world!) that would give you the French with the pronunciation as well. I guarantee it! It could change your life! Send money!)


Snake Oil Saleman, Past & Present

Well, ahem, the snake oil salesmen of the past are gone—you know the ones in old Western movies and still older operas, who went from town to town selling magic elixirs, sometimes of love. I guess that once they must have sold actual snake oil, although I have no what the hell that is.

According to Wikipedia, that fount of all knowledge:

Snake oil is an expression that originally referred to fraudulent health products or unproven medicine but has come to refer to any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit. By extension, a snake oil salesman is someone who knowingly sells fraudulent goods or who is himself or herself a fraud, quack, charlatan, and the like.

You knew that. But did you know that the term may have originated with a preparation Native Americans used to heal wounds which was made from petroleum? Or that it might refer to a medicine from the water snake that Chinese laborers used to treat joint pain?

Yeah, yeah. Whatever. The literal snake oil salesman are gone from our lives. I think. Of course, I live in Manhattan so what do I know about small towns. Maybe there’s a thriving snake oil promotion business out there in America today.

In any case, it’s clear we have more and more figurative snake oil salesmen than ever. All wanting to help you. Some of them are our elected officials. Some are selling insurance. And some, god bless ’em, roam the Internet promising to take care of all your problems.

Okay. To be fair, I can’t be absolutely certain that these techo-shamans can’t actually help you. But I am certain that their help won’t be free. Or cheap even. So be on the safe side and read the fine print. Or just don’t open the e-mails . . .

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