For a few months in college, I took a job doing what was deemed “guerilla marketing.” I’m not ashamed to admit that I was really just a professional spammer. It was honestly the best job I’ve ever had. Sit at a computer, find message boards, and post about whatever we were marketing that week, and then record my work on a spreadsheet. Repeat ad nauseum. I got $1.50 per post, and I could do maybe 100 posts a week. Usually they were for things like a candy bar or a new video game; I came up with about half a dozen ways to say the same thing over and over. It was always something like, “Yo dudez, have you tried the new frosted choco toaster pastries yet?? They are sooo kickass. I make them for breakfast or for a tight snack!” It was a lie, of course; I’m not sure how toaster pastries can even be kickass (or tight, for that matter), and also I don’t know how to operate a toaster. Internet message boards are populated mainly by fourteen year old boys, most of whom have intense anger management issues or possibly guns. Fourteen year olds today are also apparently notably smarter than I was at that age, because they would sniff me out immediately.

I would check my posts the next day, and the responses would all be of a threatening, if poorly spelled, nature. I got paid the same whether I started a new thread or whether I just replied to another one, so I encouraged the arguments; it was easier than finding a brand new message board. I’d get something like, “You fuckin corprate bot, get th fuck out.” My response: “Me? A robot? Whyever would you think such a thing? I am just a regular dude like you who is really passionate about Gogurt.” $1.50 is $1.50, after all. These conversations would go on for as long as I could milk them, and they would usually dissolve into grammatically incorrect threats and garbled strings of profanities. I’d defend myself and strike back with my own brand of message board terror, because, well, you shouldn’t talk shit about someone’s mother and get away with it, even if you’re a prepubescent kid hiding behind a computer screen. I had to record all of those conversations on the spreadsheet, but somehow I don’t think any of the big companies ever read them. I feel like Pillsbury might have taken issue with my vow to shiv some preteen’s grandfather in the face. Then again, maybe not. That Doughboy is one crazy motherfucker.

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