Annals of email porn filtering

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I have a German friend who lives amid farmland out east of Edinburgh, and keeps chickens as a hobby. When I visited recently, there was much excitement because one of a clutch of fertile eggs in a small incubator in the living room was beginning to hatch. A tiny beak appeared, and eventually a bedraggled baby bird struggled out and started clambering drunkenly over the shells of its brothers and sisters. Yesterday, after a few weeks had elapsed, my friend wrote to let me know that the tiny creature had been male, and was now an adolescent Cuckoo Maran cockerel. It's the one in the center of the photo he attached:

And as the Subject line for the email enclosing it, he chose… Ah, but I fear that a few of you may be ahead of me, having realized what I'm about to tell you!

Thank heaven, there was no one with me in my office when I opened my Gmail account. I stared in horror at the Subject line of the email. Yes, you guessed it:

Picture of my cock

Not quite 100 percent sure whether he was taking me for a ride, I wrote back to tell him severely that this kind of header was likely to land him in email quarantine with some straitlaced business servers. In his reply he suggested that perhaps "Cute chick pics!" would have been less ambiguous.

I don't think it would. But I do think I see the metaphorical twinkle in his eye. His command of English idiom in all registers including slang is flawless, and contrary to the stereotype of Germans, I think I detect a robust sense of humor.

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