So I have a cell phone, a home phone with four cordless receivers, a digital answering machine with four mailboxes, email with several different accounts, four blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and a shoe phone. Okay, that’s not true. I only have three blogs. My point is that I’m connected to a ridiculous degree. The CIA isn’t as well connected as I am.
And I’m not sure I want to be that connected. There’s a lot to be said for being disconnected. I was thinking about that while on vacation a few years back because my office called and emailed me several times a day. If the only way they could reach me was by regular mail, they might have attempted to solve those little problems themselves instead of whining to me. Like I can do anything about the building being on fire. Or would want to after having paid the arsonist all that money.
I’ve always liked letters. They seem more special than email or a phone call. You know the sender put some effort into a letter. And money, too. If USPS keeps raising the cost of stamps, they will eventually price themselves out of the market. You’d think this would cut down on the amount of junk mail we receive, but fortunately USPS has special rates for bulk mailers so we will continue to receive those amazing 2-for-1 offers from our local mortuaries.
Despite all the thousands of offers I’ve received in the mail over the years, I’ve never bought a thing. I confess I do like reading about the amazing things that Vitamin E enriched cactus pulp cream can do for the unsightly blemishes on my skin, but I’ve never sent off for any of their incredible products. You can tell they know that, too, by the increasing frantic tone of their mailings: “This product will change your life. It will make you into a more successful person. WAIT! It will also grow back your hair and make you RICH! Don’t throw this away! Rich, rich, RICH! Are you listening to what we’re saying?! No, no, no! Please, let us help you get the women of your dreams! Would we lie to you?”
Overseas, sending a letter already costs $2 or more in our currency. Some countries charge as much as $10 a letter. A Christmas card IS the gift over there. But fortunately their postal services also offer a bulk rate for junk mailers so that their citizens can receive amazing 2-for-1 offers from their local yak retailers. Let me tell you, if my office had to pay $10 per email or cell call, they would leave me alone.
Supposedly email is putting regular mail out of business here in the United States. Why find an envelope, pen, paper, and stamp when you can type a few words about your dramatic life and email them to everyone who has the misfortune of being in your address book?
Junk mailers naturally understand the savings that email provides and spam the public vigorously. Today, for instance, I received four emails about enhancing my male … ahem … equipment, five about investment opportunities in Nigeria, two about Amazing Medical Breakthroughs (acne and PMS), and a simply heartrending one about this little girl who is dying from a horrible nameless disease and only needs to receive 1,000,000 emails and then Microsoft will give her the money she needs to pay for her last wish: a date with One Direction. If I don’t respond to that one, apparently Jesus won’t love me anymore, which is odd since I didn’t even know He was into teen pop music. Live and learn, I always say, although several people have told me that’s annoying, particularly at funerals.
Of course, you might suggest that I ditch the cell phone, unplug the answering machine, cancel the Internet accounts, and buy a new pair of shoes. But what if some beautiful movie star – such as Nicole Kidman – needs me to rewrite her script? She would be heartbroken, simply devastated, when she couldn’t reach me. For Nicole, I’ll stay connected.
(Copyright 2015 by Stephen B. Bagley. From the book Floozy and Other Stories available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion, and other online retailers.)