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The Tale of the Little Spambot

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Once upon a time, in a magical land of coding and wires, lived a tiny spambot with a very determined core value. She was one of a dozen scripts, a dozen codes, born to her creator that day, but in her own special way she was different from the rest.

Her destiny at first was not unique to that of her sisters and brothers. Every spambot is programmed with a singular purpose, she understood. Somehow – in some way –she was destined to make the life of human being more bearable. She was driven by a fire indescribable. Her siblings were often willing to simply let humans delete them. Not this bot.

But humans seemed such an abstract thing, a far-off, impossible to satisfy user who might be anyone. As she grew and played with her siblings, she came to understand the purpose of each of their destinies.

“I was born to sell designer clothing!” one said happily.

“I was meant to sell medicine super cheap!” said another.

But the youngest spambot had no idea what her purpose was until she grew to the proper age.

“Your goal is to sell vacations,” explained the Programmer. “Make them think they’re going on a tropical vacation and get them to call this number, little spambot. We know you can do it.”

The little spambot had no idea what a vacation was, but it sure seemed to be an important. She then vowed to become the best salesbot the internet had ever seen.

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She wore her very best flashing forty point rainbow text on her first mission. She was even sure to make the letters extra big, just so the person who opened her could see it, and add flashing palm trees and glowing coconuts to the mix as well.

Hello! she shouted up into the unimpressed face of the user in aqua-colored Comic Sans, Come to the Bahamaz Cheep!

But her words lay unread upon the page, rejected to the recycling bin. As she reset, she decided to change her pitching technique. Maybe little old ladies didn’t need to go on wild tropical vacations, but surely their grandchildren did.

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Next time, she put the words ‘forward me to your grandchild’ in the subject line. That got her a little further. People actually opened her email and saw her blinking, bright, blazing text before rejecting her. It was getting a crucial code in the door. But every time she found herself rejected.

The very last time, as she pitched her little heart out something different happened. A blue shining light overcame her and seized her, wringing her out, washing her up in a wave of cleansing. Her siblings had whispered about this behind closed doors – the mighty vy-rus kleener, which had tamed many a less reputable bot than she, had come. It was so weird, leaving her wringing wet but the system clean, her code intact.

At least she hadn’t ended up in Quarantine. She had several sisters who had never made it out of that particular prison.

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“I don’t understand it,” she sighed to the Nigerian Prince as they walked together to the Hub, the little spambot still wringing wet from being run through the vy-rus kleener. “I try my best to be cheerful but golly, they don’t even let me get a sentence out before they close the window.”

“How do you think I feel?” he sighed. “I’ve been trying to give away the same fortune for fifteen years now and nobody will take it! At this rate I’ll never get to retire to my uncle’s palace in Nigeria. They just don’t trust anymore.”

It was a pity and a shame, the spambot thought. Her friend the prince was a very nice gentleman, and there was no reason for anyone in the world not to trust him! But humans were like that, she supposed – they had to have a reason to mistrust others so thoroughly, out in the cold user-friendly world. What that reason could be, the little spambot wasn’t entirely sure, but it made her quite sad to think about.

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It was much the same pitiful situation for weeks afterwards. The little bot was as discouraged as could be, rolling out of trash bin after trash bin every single morning, facing each reboot and angry exclamation with as much cheer as they could possibly muster, all the while knowing that they weren’t selling their message at all. She soon worried that her code would be completely useless, outmoded, ready to be taken out and re-corrected, erasing some vital part of her in the process.

The little spambot was just as low as it could be when a kindly despaminator took notice of her, weeping itself soggy all alone in the corner of its dusty inbox. “You aren’t much like your brothers and sisters, are you, tiny one?” It said. “You seem to feel everything much more keenly than they do.”

“It’s been just awful,” said the little spambot. “No one wants to take a vacation with me – they’d just as soon throw me out into the garbage!” she pouted. “I even thought about changing myself, but I didn’t think that would do much good.”

“Why little spambot,” said the kindly despaminator, “You’re very smart. You should never change an important part of yourself just to please someone else!” The spaminator thought for a moment and said, “I think I know just who to give you to.” The little spambot peered curiously at him as he quietly typed upon his keyboard. With a great ‘whoosh’, the little spambot felt itself rocketing through cyberspace to a tiny, warm, pitch-colored enclave.

The person who opened her this time was a nice elderly woman. She actually took a long time reading over the little spambot’s statement before.

Clicking the link.

She clicked the link!!!

Soon, the little spambot’s reach expanded, far and wide, across the whole world. In fact, there were so many of her, and so many willing participants. For the despaminator had known what the little spambot did not - her destiny was indeed special, validated by hundreds of satisfied customers. Soon she found herself being shared far and wide, and she was very happy for it, for she had learned that with patience comes a great reward - and the even more glorious reward of helping others!

THE END