While many people spend the holidays discussing the shape of the world, the geek-inclined ponder the state of spam. Over the past few years...

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While many people spend the holidays discussing the shape of the world, the geek-inclined ponder the state of spam.

Over the past few years we have reached varied conclusions. But this year when I sit around the holiday fire with a hot buttered rum and a funny hat, I will have another response to the question I always hear: “Mr. E-mail, why do I have so much spam?”

I found the answer while browsing at the local megabookstore, in a collection of the best pieces from the venerable Weekly World News called “Bat Boy Lives!” There, on page 24, is the startling truth: Aliens are using e-mail, and spam, to seduce Earth women.

Correspondent John Addison, who is probably a leader in his field, reports that the porn that is clogging your e-mail inbox isn’t always sent by some lonely pervert getting his kicks in a shabby apartment, or by marketing companies trying to make a buck on X-rated merchandise.

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Instead, the aliens who have tapped into the Internet hope to tempt women with lurid claims of their sexual prowess or entice men with performance-enhancing drugs and gadgets.

The story goes on to explain the decreasing number of reported abductions: The aliens are looking for willing partners, and e-mail is the ideal recruiting channel. And this isn’t just made up. One scientist, attempting to trace the source of seductive e-mails, was led to an Air Force satellite launched in 1999.

Is that proof, or what?

There are those cynics who suggest the Weekly World News isn’t the most reliable source. Even the publishers have admitted that some of this stuff isn’t always 100 percent true.

But it makes sense to me, especially in these times when cyberwisdom should be taken for granted. When I get one of these insane free camera/cheap Viagra/Nigerian-get-rich notes, I always want to respond with a swift “What planet are you from?”

Except if you write them back, they know you are a “live one” and it only gets worse. No matter what planet they are from.

Seriously — I don’t believe in the tabloid’s veracity any more than honest government or uncorrupted elections.

On the other hand, maybe if you believe that spam originates from across the universe it will be a little easier to accept. Sort of like that funny, drunken uncle who talks incessantly and you just nod in the right places.

So in order to tolerate spam, you just need to think of it as one big joke.

But what if it really is true about online aliens? In that case, I’ve got to believe the aliens read my column (I do get mail from other worlds like New Mexico and France, after all). Here’s my advice to them: Try the dating sites. The women there might not need so much convincing.

If you have questions or suggestions for Charles Bermant, you can contact him by e-mail at cbermant@seattletimes.com. Type Inbox in the subject field. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.