http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20080610/COLUMNIST23/806100577/1025/news As if times were not depressing enough what with the high price of gas, the failing real estate market and the upcoming presidential election, people are eating more Spam. As food prices soar, Spam has suddenly become a bargain. According, more or less, to the breathless press releases I have been receiving, a family of four can subsist for 30 days on a 12-ounce can of Spam, assuming no one takes more than one bite of the stuff, which is fairly typical in my experience. My dad was a huge fan of Spam. To my knowledge, it was the only thing he knew how to cook, not that Spam really benefited from cooking one way or the other. His technique was to melt approximately four pats of oleo in a skillet and then fry as many slices of Spam as he deemed necessary, which was usually about half a can. Putting the fried Spam between two slices of white bread was, in his opinion, "gilding the lily." A dab of horseradish was, however, acceptable. This is the same man who, at a buffet luncheon, was asked whether he had chosen the chicken or the fish. "I don't analyze," he responded while chewing. So, no, I don't come here to bury Spam, as tempting as it may be. But before you rush out and buy a crate of the stuff, there are some things you need to know: Res idents of Hawaii eat an average of four cans of Spam per year. Hawaiians, in fact, are 80 percent Spam. Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia is said to eat a sandwich of Spam and mayonnaise on white bread three times a week. He has had no detectable pulse for the past 10 years. In 1993, the 5 billionth can of Spam was sold. These people must be anticipating a lot of hurricanes. More than 60 million people in the U.S. eat Spam. However, we also re-elected George Bush, so that statistic is really not all that shocking. If you laid 5 billion cans of Spam end to end, it would be tantamount to saying you have no life. "Spam" is also the word used to describe useless, unsolicited and/or irritating e-mails. Make of this what you will. I haven't bothered to investigate this because it involves research, but in the old days you opened a can of Spam with this cool little key thingy. When the lump of Spam exited the can, it made an unforgettable sploosh sound. After that, it was pretty much all downhill. David Grimes can be reached by mail at the Herald-Tribune, P.O. Drawer 1719, Sarasota, FL 34230; by fax at 361-4880; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.