November 19, 2018


The Aser Stories 26: Junk Mail


Why don't littering laws apply to your mailbox?

So I get to the front of my house after four or five months on the road, and the first thing I see are bits of paper sticking out of the mail slot. Pretty sloppy of the mail service, wouldn't you think? Checking around from under the hedge, I can see there are no elves with drawn bows, no lizardmen lounging about picking their toe-scales with polished daggers, so I'm willing to try my front door with the key and see if my little abode is still intact.

The door gives a little, but not much. I push harder, and something feels like it's pushing back. With a great heave, I manage to shove the door open about a foot, and see cascading from behind the door a curse worse than many others --- piles and piles of mail that have been poked through the letter opening.

Using my staff, I start pushing the edges back as I thrust the door inward. What I see when I can get my head past the doorjamb is horrendous. The entire room is littered with envelopes and thin books to the depth of my thighs.

Now granted, I didn't have time to ask the postal service to put a 'stop' on my mail before I lit out for the mountains, but this being such a small village, you'd think someone would notice that I was gone and not just keep stuffing stuff through my door ad infinitum ... !

Half the Brazilian rain forest is on my floor, ground to wasteful advertisements.

Kicking the mountain of paper out the door and into the clearing in front of my house takes about half an hour. Now the sorting begins, well, that is, after I contract with old Cobliver to carry off the garbage. I sort official mail from junk mail, and by the end of the next day, I've got his cart full of queries about credit cards and catalogs and political campaign solicitations, as well as begging letters for various charities.

Full, I tell you! Not just 'a pile of' -- I am talking a mountain of postal paper that outweighs me tenfold and more.

Fourteen different companies have sent me letters inviting me to invest with them so that they can provide me with a credit line, and they've sent me these invitations about twice a week each for all this time. Did they somehow hear that I'd found a treasure along the way, or did the inn at Great Well sell my information to some mailing lists?

I can understand the Shamans' Source catalog with its herbs and amulets; I do business with them sometimes for the hard to find Chinese herbs and the occasional girdle ... but why am I now receiving catalogs for push-up brassieres and personalized birdfeeders? Oh, and a plus-sizes one that has imprinted on the front cover, "Your personal profile inside, Ase Ur-Jennan, use this to choose the most flattering costume for the evening!"

And one hundred twenty-two single sheet flyers that say, in bold letters, "Vote for Liz!" although there is no indication of when I should cast my vote or for what position.

We shan't forget the pleas for donations (dammit, someone definitely got loose-lipped about that blasted ghost's gold I lifted) for the Mountain-Valley Homeless Dwarfs Association, or the Sisters of Imp Yarnknitters Benevolent Fund, or Trolls Alcohol Research Center Fund -- ah ha! that would be the Fart sisters and their elaborate still -- and sundry so-called organizations from here to the north mountains and back again.

But then there are the stacks of advertisements for carpet cleaning (I've got a dirt floor) and the pages of weekly grocery store advertisements (though the nearest supermarket is in Great Well, about two weeks' walk away; what are they trying to do, arouse interest for building one of the abominations here?) and the jousting equipment store ads are just outrageous, with an entire sheet devoted just to the kind of footwear knights like to peruse, and then two more for binoculars and tents and designer shoulder protectors!

After sorting the first round, I march down to the mail services office and bang open the front door. The posting-master has no doubts as to why I'm there for he hides behind the counter with his head covered by a Priority Mailing sack. I lean across the counter and say to him, "What the hell were you thinking, stuffing all that shit in my door?"

"I had no choice, it's the mail, it has to be delivered."

"Even if you know there's no one home? Even though it's mostly CRAP? Even though you've known me for years and know that I wouldn't want that?"

"If I didn't deliver it, I'd get in trouble with the main office!" He keeps his arms covering his head.

"Dacklerainey, you're a gutless toad," I say to him, and stomp out. I've dealt with the so-called Main Office before. They say anybody who wants has a right to send whatever mail they want to whomever they want. Important for a free and democratic society, they say, whatever the hell that is.

But the person who owns the door or the mailbox? Sorry, no choice. Paraphrenalia or porn, you got no choice. Your mailbox is thrown open to the vagaries of others like a honeysuckle flower is to a bee, but with far less fruitful results. Don't like to see all the ads? Tough, they'd stuff 'em down your shirt if you tore down your mailbox. Don't want the catalogs? Up to you to pursue the endless waste of postage fees to tell them over and over again you don't want them. Costs them about a tenth of a cent to send the catalogs with bulk mail rates; costs you about a tenner to finally get them to leave you alone ... that is, until they buy somebody else's mailing list that has you on it.

Sit back, shut up, take it. Throw it in your own garbage and pay for the privilege of having it hauled away. This is wrong and there will ultimately have to be a solution, or all the forests of the world will be gone into landfills and dump sites and the world will look like a dragon's litter box.

I head back to the house to look at the 132 pieces of official mail: a few bills, some professional correspon-dence, and 119 letters asking for advice, all of which can be answered by the following response:

Thank you for your letter!

The best answer I can give you is that you keep your bloomers on until he/she is no longer entangled with other relationships and has a decent job so that he/she can provide for the inevitable offspring. And get a contract in writing. The post office will be glad to deliver it to your lover's door.


Article © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-08-27

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In the same series:

The Accursed
The Aser Stories: Sidelong
The Aser Stories 80: Cabin Fever
The Aser Stories 79: Just Don't Say It Before Spring
The Aser Stories 78: Judgment Call
The Aser Stories 77: "Are We There Yet?"
The Aser Stories 76: A Bone to Pick
The Aser Stories 75: Coalition Forces
The Aser Stories 74: Flying Monkeys
The Aser Stories 73: Elspeth, Ad Nauseam
The Aser Stories 072: Starve a Cold
The Aser Stories 071: House Call
The Aser Stories 70: Dinner Dates
The Aser Stories 69: Fire in the Hole
The Aser Stories 68: The Silk Fable
The Aser Stories 67: The Simple Life
The Aser Stories 66: For What You're Worth
The Aser Stories 65: Taking a Shot
The Aser Stories 64: Second Chances
The Aser Stories 63: The Second Step
The Aser Stories 63: Second Thoughts
The Aser Stories 60: Fish Story
The Aser Stories 59: Ace in the Hole
The Aser Stories 58: Knowledge is Power
The Aser Stories 57: Animal Tracks
The Aser Stories 56: Oz Can Keep Them All
The Aser Stories 55: Small Comfort
The Aser Stories 54: Letting Go
The Aser Stories 53: In a Spirit of Healing
The Aser Stories 52: Stinkin' Kids
The Aser Stories 51: No Words For It
The Aser Stories 50: The Friend in Need
The Aser Stories 49: Run for Cover
The Aser Stories 48: On the Fly
The Aser Stories 47: Just Thievery
The Aser Stories 46: Take My Shaman ... Please
The Aser Stories 45: Hot Stuff
The Aser Stories 44: Courtesy Call
The Aser Stories 43: Adding Insult to Injury
The Aser Stories 42: Natural Selection
The Aser Stories 41: Funny Business
The Aser Stories 40: Happy Endings
The Aser Stories 39: Working Dogs
The Aser Stories 38: Taking Sides
The Aser Stories 37: Dumb Animals
The Aser Stories 36: Harsh Words
The Aser Stories 35: Endangered Species
The Aser Stories 34: Common Language
The Aser Stories 33: Legal Torture
The Aser Stories 32: Whose Fault Is It?
The Aser Stories 31: Money Talks
The Aser Stories 30: The Perils of Sympathy
The Aser Stories 29: Raccoons
The Aser Stories 28: The Ghost of Garfer Miller
The Aser Stories 27: Dynamite
The Aser Stories 26: Junk Mail
The Aser Stories 25: Rose-Covered Cottages
The Aser Stories 24: Crime and Punishment
The Aser Stories 23: Image Is Everything
The Aser Stories 22: Is As Does
The Aser Stories 21: Gourmet Dining
The Aser Stories 20: Families and How They Are
The Aser Stories 19: The Difference Between Men and Women
The Aser Stories 18: On a Silver Platter
The Aser Stories 17: Point of View
The Aser Stories 16: Easy Street
The Aser Stories 15: Moguls
The Aser Stories 14: A Mile Toward Change
The Aser Stories 13: The Price of Freedom
The Aser Stories 12: A Question of Nudity
The Aser Stories 11: Rabbit From a Hat
The Aser Stories 10: Awards
The Aser Stories 09: On A Roll
The Aser Stories 08: Raising Children
The Aser Stories 07: Crosspasses Market
The Aser Stories 06: Judge, Jury, Shaman
The Aser Stories 05:Habit and Stubbornness
The Aser Stories 04: The Wrong Question
The Aser Stories 03: The Labor of Love
The Aser Stories 02: Soup du Jour
The Aser Stories 01: Popping the Big Question
The Aser Stories 40a: Customary Behavior
The Aser Stories 36a: Madly In Love
The Aser Stories 03a: Descent to the Underworld

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