Disclaimer: This piece was written for entertainment purposes only. It is satirical in nature, and although some of the names, places, and facts included herein are real, the statements attributed to these individuals are not real nor is there an actual condition know as Spam-Introduced Self-Hatred (SISH).

While the world focuses on SARS, a new health hazard has taken root with little notice. Although SARS is transferred through aerosolized bodily fluids, this new threat to public health is spread through the use of e-mail, whether at home, school, or in the office. SISH (Spam-Induced Self-Hatred), arises from repeated exposure to unsolicited commercial e-mail offers that imply that you are fat, poorly endowed, unattractive, old and/or are stupid for not making millions of dollars while working from home in your pajamas.

There is no known cure for SISH, although research has shown that the symptoms can be temporarily alleviated through the use of spam filters and the periodic cessation of reading e-mail. SISH has already affected millions of people worldwide, and current predictions show that it is likely to continue to spread exponentially for the foreseeable future. Unchecked, experts fear that vast hoards of well endowed, anorexic millionaires will soon be running wild through the streets.

State and Federal politicians are frantically trying to develop legislation that will slow the progression of SISH. Most of the discussion involves limiting the ability of the causative agent, spam, to spread. Unfortunately, spam is an elusive pathogen that possesses the ability to mutate quickly, which renders any palliative ineffective almost as soon as it is introduced. Top legislators on Capitol Hill have been quoted as saying that “this could be the end of life as we know it,” and “oh, the humanity of it all – won’t someone please think about the children.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) is considering e-mail bans on several U.S. cities, most notably Buffalo, New York, which was recently identified as an epicenter of the spam epidemic. While Howard Carmack, the man responsible for the spread of the condition in Buffalo, has been apprehended, leading authorities know that there are many others out there waiting to fill the void.

To combat its image as the “Spam Capital of North America,” Buffalo has joined forces with Toronto in a co-promotional campaign to highlight the non-disease related aspects of the two cities. Unfortunately, some competitive animosity has become evident as the two regional allies struggle to attract tourists.

Asked to comment on the situation, the Mayor of Toronto, Mel Lastman, stated, “We may have SARS, but at least we are not infecting the world with SISH like our friends in Buffalo, Ay? Just hop on the QEW highway and take the short trip from Buffalo to come visit us.” When confronted with the fact that SISH is not fatal while SARS has a high mortality rate, Lastman replied “So?”

Asked for his commentary, Mayor Anthony Masiello of Buffalo said, “We are committed to addressing this issue and working with our friends in Toronto to promote both cities. But, in the mean time, why don’t you come and enjoy our wings and a Bills game? Toronto doesn’t even have an NFL team!” Asked to elaborate, Mayor Masiello, downing a bottle of Molson, simply replied “Drew Bledsoe? Takeo Spikes? Sam Adams? How can we NOT make the playoffs this year? Go Bills!”

While no one is sure when the SISH epidemic will level out, few experts believe that it will be soon. Although the U.S. federal government is attempting to take action, little beyond talk has been done to stem the tide of spam at the national level. In New York State, State Senator Joe Robach (R – Rochester) recently introduced a bill to regulate unsolicited e-mail, but little action has yet to manifest at the state level.

With no relief in sight, citizens are left to face spam on their own. Without some form of legislation, spam will continue to proliferate uncontrollably, leaving a huge trail of economic carnage in its wake. Ultimately, there will be legislative action, but the question is, can legislation really eliminate spam?