IT all started with this one short line in my spam box: “Hi Insoymada. Your partner will be calling you ‘BIG BOY…’”

I normally ignore junk mail. It’s the best way to deal with them. They are so everywhere that you start to doubt if the companies that sent them don’t actually have the blessing of your Webmail service provider.

I’m no computer expert; I’m a technophobe even. But isn’t there a way to just totally block all unsolicited advertisement from view instead of reserving a spam box for them? It reads “spam” all right, but we click on the box anyway because we’re curious human beings. And besides, we need to empty it out every now and then.

I’m of small build and vertically challenged, there’s no way my girlfriend will call me “big boy.” So I opened the curious mail expecting to read “10 tips on how to grow taller in your 30s.” But to my horror, a picture of an enormous penis popped up the screen. No, not one penis, but a row of penises standing in attention like proud ROTC cadets.

“The size of your penis determines your success,” the caption read. You talking to me? Ha!

Recovering from the shock, I clicked exit and looked around if there’s no officemate who might think I’m a porn junkie and start to question my sexual preference.

I would have wanted to know more about how a man’s penis could push him up the corporate ladder, seriously. But no, I am happy with my work, and that’s success enough for me, I consoled myself.

I forgot about it, until I opened my mail again the next day. There they were, growing in number. Fifty-five penile messages! All asking “Mr. Insoymada” if he was happy with his penis! These penis enlargement companies started to sound like they’d just been to a conference on how to launch their products more aggressively.

“Penis Enlargement Summit 2007: Going The Right Erection.” Tip one: “Bombard all single men in the world with emails until they go limp.”

I happen to be the editor of this paper’s religion page. There’s no way a penis enlargement ad will find its way to the page’s mail box and say something like “Mr. Religion Editor, did you know why the Apostles were so successful?”

My worries were confirmed, my religion page email wasn’t spared. Competing against religious blingblings and drinkable holy water was the same penile exhortation to spread the good news to all and sundry, from Jerusalem to the whole of pagan world. If these mails mention Jesus and his father Joseph

in the ads, I’ll bring the matter to the Archdiocese. I swear.

It’s not normal for boys to talk about the penis. We talk about boxing, red wine, the latest FHM issue, but seldom the penis, especially if it’s ours. And talking about it with a female officemate is too risky. So I tried if I could casually discuss the matter with my girlfriend. Some kind of a geek, she might also know of a solution to the spam problem.

“Is there any way you will call me ‘big boy?’” I asked my girlfriend, looking her straight in the eye. “Big what?” she said. “Er… nothing, forget it. How’s work?” I said, changing the topic.

( cebu, 2007)