} Oh, this is a tough one. Unsolicited sales pitches are as old as man.
} Let's take a look at the history of this phenomenon before we start
} discussing possible solutions:
} 1,000,000 B.C., OLDIVAI GORGE
} OG: Og have club! Og have *good* club! Og give Thag club, Thag give
} Og big lump of meat.
} THAG: Thag no want club. Thag have good club now.
} OG: Og club better club! Og club spikey.
} THAG: Thag *no want club*! Thag eating now, not want Og to come to
} Thag cave, bother Thag while eating.
} OG: Og have *good* club!
} [f/x] WHACK!
} THAG: Thag have Og club anyway. Thag also have more meat!
} CHINA, 2,000 B.C.
} LI CH'IN: Excuse me, most wise one, but whould the honorable
} scholar wish to examine my wares?
} KUNG FU TZE: I am honored by your willingness to take the time to
} discuss your wares with me but, as you see, I am in the
} middle of eating my meal.
} LI CH'IN: Ah! Just so! Therefore, you will be interested in this
} remarkable set of jade chopsticks! These were brought
} at great expense from the south, where such precious
} stone is mined...
} KUNG FU TZE: Indeed! I am aware of the source of jade. Also, I am
} sure that these instruments for eating are exquisite,
} but I wish to return to my meal before the noodles
} become cold.
} LI CH'IN: Indeed! Cold noodles are a problem for many busy
} scholars! Therefore, I also offer a special charcoal-
} heated warming plate! This will keep any meal...
} KUNG FU TZE: I have a saying.
} LI CH'IN: Yes, lord?
} KUNG FU TZE: "May you live in interesting times." [aside] Guards!
} Please take this honorable person to the prison and make
} sure that his life is interesting, indeed... for about a
} ROME, 35 A.D.
} ANTONIUS: O great one! May I show you these priceless scrolls
} showing how you can learn the wisdom of the ancients? It
} is a 20-scroll set and is available for such a low
} CALIGULA: Can't you see that I'm in the middle of an orgy?
} ANTONIUS: Oh, yes, sir! And a fine orgy it is, too! And here, in
} scroll 16 of this set, you can study the 14 positions
} for, um, orgying, plus an additional 16 practiced by...
} CALIGULA: Guard!
} GUARD: Yes, Cesar?
} CALIGULA: Have the lions been fed lately?
} GUARD: No, sir. I'm afraid not.
} CALIGULA: Oh, good.
} THE STEPPES OF CENTRAL ASIA, 1137 A.D.
} LI CH'IN: Great lord! Have you ever noticed that your swords
} become dull after hacking off a few thousand heads?
} Would you like to see how to keep them as sharp as
} razors after 10,000 beheadings?
} ATTILA: I'm trying to rape, pillage and loot, here! [Shouting]
} No, no, no! How many times do I have to tell you men?
} *First* you pillage, *then* you burn!
} LI CH'IN: But great lord!
} [f/x] *WHACK*!
} ROANOKE ISLAND, 1608 A.D.
} JAMES: Hello, pagan savages!
} GREY OWL: Who are you?
} JAMES: I'm an Englishman, here to offer you a once-in-a-
} lifetime opportunity to convert to Christianity! In
} return, all we ask is for all your land. What a great
} GREY OWL: Um, right, sure... Look, I'd be happy to talk to you
} about this some other time, but we're in the middle of
} torturing a captive from the Leni Lapi tribe and so we
} don't really have the time...
} JAMES: Oh, this won't take a minute! All you have to do is
} kneel down, swear allegance to the King, sign this
} document handing over all your land to the king and...
} GREY OWL: Spotted Deer?
} SPOTTED DEER: Yes, Grey Owl?
} GREY OWL: Do we have an extra stake?
} SPOTTED DEER: You bet.
} JAMES: No, no, please don't bother. I just had steak last
} GREY OWL: I insist. Our treat.
} MILWAUKEE, 1991
} BILL: Mr. Dahlmer?
} DAHLMER: Yes?
} BILL: Hi! This is Bill from the Thousand Lakes Insurance
} Company? Do you have a minute to discuss life
} DAHLMER: Well I was just having somebody over for dinner...
} BILL: This won't take a minute! Mr. Dahlmer -- may I call
} you Jeff?
} DAHLMER: Uh...
} BILL: Jeff, we live in such uncertain times that it is
} *vital* to have full medical, dental, hospitalization
} and life insurance coverage. What would happen if you
} happened to eat something that disagreed with you...
} DAHLMER: That happens all the time...
} BILL: There you go! See? Now, with our super-coverage policy,
} you'd have no worried about any long-term
} DAHLMER: I wonder if we could discuss this in person. Say, at
} my house?
} BILL: What a great idea! I have your address here in the
} computer. When should I come over?
} DAHLMER: Why not now? You can talk while I have a bite to eat.
} So, I'm afraid to say, Supplicant, that unwanted solicitations are an
} ingrained part of humanity. There will always be some s.o.b. who will
} pester you at the worst possible time to try to sell you something you
} don't need and don't want. If you think it's bad now, just wait until
} 2104 A.D., when the brain-implant esp-mail units become available.
} You owe the Oracle a spikey club, a torture chamber, some hungry lions,
} a sharp sword, a wooden stake and a cannibal.