Gary Brown: I’m not ready to be e-mail rich

Gary Brown

Leave it to e-mail to let you know how rich you are.

“Winning notification!!!” said the subject line of the e-mail that I received over the weekend. When I opened it, the e-mail itself was topped with a second “WINNING NOTIFICATION -- an important upper-case announcement -- and it started out with the greeting “Dear Winner.”

The words, and especially the three exclamation points, made me lean back in an upright and ergonomic position in my computer chair, then swell my chest with pride. I didn’t even know what I won yet, and I was happy. It could have been only a major award, such as a leg lamp. But I won.

It turns out that I had won the “London royal lottery online sweepstakes.”

“You have won ... One Million Five Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling.”

At that point I think I chest-bumped my laptop.

Comparatively wealthy

Now let’s just forget for a moment that I have no idea how much 1,500,000 pounds sterling is in real American money. And let’s try not to remember that I hadn’t ever entered the “London royal lottery online sweepstakes,” so there is an unlikely chance that I could have won it.

Let’s focus on the fact that the e-mail gave me a winning ticket number, and it authenticated this ticket number with a winning serial number. Then the e-mail explained that the ticket correctly named the “lucky” winning numbers -- 6, 10, 29, 43, 42, along with the “lucky” bonus-ball number, 43.

The more unverified facts that you throw into an e-mail, the better a “winning notification” sounds.

This was my best shot at great wealth since the days when I’d walk to my mailbox at the end of my drive to find out that I might already have won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. And the best thing was that I did it all sitting in sweat pants and a T-shirt, drinking coffee and eating a sticky bun. Those generally aren’t wealth-building activities.

I think I was even watching ESPN’s SportsCenter on television. That should have distracted me too much for me to get rich.

Previous deals

Oh, I’d sat at home in front of my computer before this and had gotten my share of e-mailed offers to launder money for wealthy deposed or dead leaders of Third-World countries. But there is risk involved in that.

In order to properly launder money, you need to give the Third-World people vital financial information, such as your bank-account number and maybe even your Social Security number. When you do that, you’re never really sure whose money is going to get cleaned.

But all that the people “London royal lottery online sweepstakes” asked me for was my name, address, telephone number, country and occupation. Maybe eventually they’ll want my bank-account number, so they’ll know where to deposit my 1,500,000 pounds sterling. And perhaps they’ll need my Social Security number, for verification.

Eh, never mind. Forget I wrote this.

Being e-mail rich appears to be a fleeting status.

Reach Repository Living Section Editor Gary Brown at (330) 580-8303 or e-mail: