I just received an e-mail from the US Commerce Association congratulating me for being selected for their 2009 St. Louis Award in the Book Publishing category.

The message goes on to tell me that they have a lovely plaque waiting for me if I’ll only click the embedded link. When I do, I’m taken to a page that asks for all sorts of business and personal information, which I’m not about to volunteer to some organization that has obviously targeted me as a random sucker.

How do I know they’re not legit?

For one, I have never published a book. That would, under the best circumstances, tie me with about two million other people in the St. Louis area who have also never published a book. Anyone who has put out even one book would be so far ahead that I have very little chance of catching up at my historical pace of zero books a year.

Second, as far as I can tell, this organization (which is not the Chamber of Commerce) has only one business — giving out awards. They even have a boilerplate press release posted for my use, to announce my receipt of this award I didn’t earn.

Third, while I don’t know how much they would charge me to receive this “free” award, I don’t have space for it anyway, because my shelf is already full of honors I didn’t deserve from the International Brotherhood of Bean Bag Chair Producers, the US Council on Cork Repair, and the American Lint Removal Institute.

No wonder I haven’t had time to put out a book.