Ah, spam. Where would we be without spam? I'll tell you where. We'll be living in a lush, verdant paradise, unspoilt by rejected technology, where men and women of all creeds and races can join hands and sing for the sheer joy of being alive.

Maybe I'm exaggerating, but I don't think I am when I say that most internet users would very much like to invite the spam merchants to sod off and die. Which is why I was in an enviable position recently, when I decided to track down the man who invented spam and interview him. It took a while, but after doing some research into one of those spam mails that try to sell you 50,000 e-mail addresses - and after filtering twelve different viruses from my computer - I finally had a name.

That name was Floda Dratsabizan (and if you're having trouble with that name, it's pronounced 'Flow-dar'), a German national who came to America shortly after the end of the second world war, now living in a retirement community in Florida. I caught up with him just before the nurses took him inside for his blanket bath, and squeezed a few words out of him.

YZ: So, Mr. Dratsabizan ... if I could digress for a moment, where did you get that fascinating name?

FD: Vell, zat is a very gut qvestion. It vos suggested to me by my gut friend Heinrich chust before I decided to flee to ze Americas - er, vait, delete zat bit. It vos given to me by my all-American parents ven I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, you big silly.

YZ: Right. Now then, what first gave you the idea for spam?

FD: It vos a few years ago ven ve first got internet installed in ze home. I recall being most impressed vith ze huge netvork of people all over ze world. I spent a lot of time in ... vot you call ... IRC? Making many friends. One day I vondered if it vould be possible to send a happy little message to all my friends in von go. And ze idea chust developed from zere, really.

YZ: Fascinating.

FD: I notice you are English, mein freund.

YZ: Yes, I am.

FD: Churchill vos English, vosn't he.

YZ: Well, he was Prime Minister, that usually does the trick.

FD: Vere you fond of Churchill?

YZ: Er ... I didn't know him personally, but I suppose, if you mean I'm glad we're not all goose-stepping and wearing armbands and calling each other Schweinhund, then yes.

(At this point Mr. Dratsabizan fell into a sort of silent catatonic state. I sat patiently for fifteen minutes until he seemed to snap out of it. He wiped a tear from his eye, downed his glass of peppermint schnapps in one go, and asked me to continue)

YZ: Okay then. So, Mr. Dratsabizan, are you intimidated by the way spam has really taken off?

FD: Intimidated? Vy should I be intimidated by zat? Have you ever seen vot goes on in the furnaces at a concentration camp?

YZ: ... I'm afraid not.

FD: (after a pause) Vell, neither have I! But if I had, zen you'd be sure it vould probably be a lot more intimidating zan the vay spam has really taken off, like you said!

YZ: I suppose so.

FD: Churchill vos a drunk, you know.

YZ: He was the leader of the armed forces. He was allowed to be drunk. If he was drunk and piloting a spitfire, then we'd have had a reason to worry.

FD: I never touched a drink in my life! I vould have been a much better ruler zan Churchill!

YZ: Well, I guess we'll never know, now.

(At this point Mr. Dratsabizan pulled a previously unnoticed Luger from his dressing gown pocket and pointed it at me, demanding I go and kneel in front of the duck pond with my hands behind my back. Three nurses had to run in and hold him down while another jammed about three pints of sedative into his veins. As he was dragged away, foaming at the mouth, I reluctantly decided to call the interview off.)

So, that was my encounter with the man who invented spam, and I have to admit, I don't feel any closer to understanding him. I was especially angry at myself when I got home and realised I'd forgotten to tell him to sod off and die on behalf of all the internet users in the world. On the whole, a disappointing day.

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