An open letter to Mrs. Katherine Marlow

>> Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dear Winner‏

Katherine Marlow

From: Katherine Marlow (
Sent: Mon 11/14/11 9:45 PM

Microsoft Award Team
20 Craven Park, Harlesden London NW10 United Kingdom
Ref: BTD/968/05
Batch: 409978E

Dear Winner,


The prestigious Microsoft and Aol has set out and successfully organized a Sweepstakes marking the year 2011 anniversary we rolled out over US$4,418,864 for our end of year Anniversary Draws. Participants for the draws were randomly selected and drawn from a wide range of web hosts which we enjoy their patronage.

The selection was made through a computer draw system attaching personalized email addresses to ticket numbers. If you ignore this, you will regret it later. Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.

Your email address as indicated was drawn and attached to ticket number 008795727498 with serial numbers BTD/9080648302/06 and drew the lucky numbers 14-21-25-39-40-47(20) which subsequently won you ?1,350,000.00 (One Million Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Great Britain Pounds) as one of the 5 jackpot winners in this draw. You have therefore won the entire winning sum of ?1,350,000.00 (One Million Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Great Britain Pounds) The draws registered as Draw number one was conducted in Brockley, London United Kingdom These Draws are commemorative and as such special.

Please be informed by this winning notification, to file your claims, you are to make contact with your designated agent who shall by duty guide you through the process to facilitate the release of your prize. To file for your claim Please Contact your delivery agency in the contact information below:

Contact Person's:MR HENRY LANDER

You are advised to contact your fiduciary agent with the following details to avoid unnecessary delays and complications:

1)Full name:
3)Ticket Numbers:
4)Batch Number:
5)Serial Number:
6)Lucky Numbers: (as indicated in this winning Notification)
7)Phone numbers:
8)Amount won:

Our special thanks and gratitude to Bill Gates and his associates. We wish you the best of luck as you spend your good fortune in this season.

Note: You have One week from the date of this publication to claim your prize or you may forefeet your winnings. In compliance with the sponsoring bodies’, you are to make a remittance of a part of your won fund, not lower than 10- percent, after receiving your allocation to a charity organization.

Thank you for being part of our commemorative end of year Anniversary Draws.


Mrs. Katherine Marlow

Microsoft Promotion Team
Vice President

**********************************Aviso de Confidencialidad**********************************
La información contenida en este e-mail es confidencial, privilegiada y está dirigida
exclusivamente a su destinatario. Su revisión, difusión, distribución o copiado está
prohibido. Si ha recibido este e-mail por error por favor bórrelo y envíe un mensaje al

The information contained in this e-mail is privileged and confidential and is intended
only for its addressee. Any review, dissemination, distribution or copying of this is
prohibited. If you have received this mail in error please delete the original message
and e-mail us.

Dear Mrs. Marlow,

Well, you know, I have to respond. I know you say not to. I can't help myself. And I know you demand confidentiality and in multiple languages, too. But I find the temptation to respond irresistible.

You see, I'm afraid if I don't respond publicly, I might end up inadvertently ignoring your message. And what if I do that and regret it later? You say I'll regret it later; dear gods, I can only imagine you showing up at my home in the middle of night with baseball bats, a black hood and those plastic twist-ties the police sometimes use to restrain people these days in lieu of handcuffs. Or slashing my tires in the parking lot. Publishing humiliating junior high school photographs. Spreading scurrilous rumors. Ordering pizzas to be delivered to my home. Hiring professional hecklers to yell at me in restaurants. Putting my address on dozens of magazine subscription forms and dropping them all in the mail. Breaking into my home and moving all the furniture around. Kneecapping me right before I compete in an Olympic figure-skating practice--I just don't know, but the possibilities are endless.

And I try to live a life without regrets, insofar as it's humanly possible.

I imagine I'm disqualified, anyway. I use Firefox for my Internet browsing. Firefox and then I use Dolphin on my phone and tablet, in spite of recent data mining concerns with the software; yes, there are limits to my 21st-Century privacy abandonment, but it really is the best browser I've tried on the tablet and it just makes sense to use the same software on the phone. Besides which, I harbor sneaking suspicions any data Dolphin is harvesting is probably already being gathered by my phone company, or could be or will be when they feel they can get away with it. Yeah, it's already a tracking device, they might as well know when I'm looking at naughty pictures or something.

But, anyway. I have to confess something. It's one word. I really was going to ignore your e-mail (regrets be damned!), except there was one word that made me giggle as I was reading your missive, madam.


I might "forefeet" my winnings you say. And I wonder if your e-mail was typed out by Speedy Gonzales, the culturally insensitive and fast-moving rodent nemesis of Sylvester Cat. That, I regret to say, is the first thought that crosses my mind: "Meester, you will forefeet your weenings eef you do not claim them." I'm probably supposed to take some kind of diversity classes now or something.

The second thing I thought when I read that line was that, unlike Sylvester, I only have hindfeet, my ancient ancestors' "forefeet" having evolved into hands ages ago. This is a remarkable adaptation that I like to think makes me a higher animal indeed; first, I mean, there's a literal sense in which my head is farther from the ground than that of many quadrupeds, even technically larger animals whose carriages bear them closer to the ground so long as they're not standing on their hindquarters (to maul me, say for instance). And then there's also the greater sophistication this advance gives me, which allows me to do things my cat is physically incapable of doing, such as opening a can of cat food when he demands it before I go and scoop his feces and urine-soaked lumps of clay from his litterbox, thereby demonstrating my precedence over him in the great chain of being, proving yet again my status of being further up the food chain than my cat so long as I manage not to fall down the stairs and break my neck (some time following which I assume the cat will eat me since I'm no longer able to show off my superiority by opening cans at his whim).

After you've opened the door to such an amusing digression on bipedalism versus quadruped-ism, it almost seems gauche to call attention to all your other spelling and grammar errors, Mrs. Marlow, except I will say this much: their presence is the most authentic-seeming thing about your message, as I've never been much impressed by Microsoft's spell-checking software (though I'll admit its slowly improved over the decades). You might want to get Speedy to hit the "F7" key on his keyboard before he sends out another e-mail for you, anyway. He may be the fastest mouse in Mexico, yes, but I think this is an instance of haste making waste. Just saying.

R. Eric VanNewkirk
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets


timb111 Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 10:25:00 AM EST  

I'd just like to point out that if you'd only won a single Great Britain Pound the e-mail would have said "forefoot your winning".

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