Just when you thought is was safe to go out to the mailbox
How we get on mailing lists is a mystery fit for the combined intellectual weight of Wimsey, Spade, Poirot and Marple. Most of the letters tend to wind up in the wastebasket instanter, though I hesitate to throw away the one that begins "Dear Fish [quoteright]Lover..." The complimentary
periodicals, the flyers and the more exotic brochures, however, are starting to pile up to rather awesome heights on my desk.
Here's a very expensively printed philatelic auction catalog in full color. It contains covers dating back the the 19th Century, some of which start at only $1000. Well, I do have an old stamp album, but who can afford anything in that exalted category? So the catalog is of interest only insofar as it shows what one won't ever possess. Still, I hate to throw out anything that is so attractively printed.
And I'm still getting Aramco's lovely monthly of Arabiana from the days when I was deluding myself that it was possible for me to learn Arabic. They used to send the Arabic version, which was all the more interesting because I couldn't decipher anything but the word wadi. One article in particular, written in Arabic letters the size and shape of pubic hairs, contained numerous pictures of various types of fetal monsters and infant deformities. I hope I didn't accidentally throw that one away during one of my mindless housekeeping sprees! It must be here somewhere. But how did they discover that I've dropped the language lessons? Because now they send only the English version. Drat. These articles are not nearly so interesting!
I also get AV, the antivivisectionist magazine. This month they're celebrating "Autumn Innocence" with a picture of a deer on the cover. The gun lobby calls this the "Bambi" complex, but I don't care. It would do the bloodsport crowd good to reread the myth of Diana & Acteon. This journal isn't as silly as you might think. The emphasis is on ecology and there's a lot of sensible thinking in these pages. You'd be surprised how many famous people are antivivisectionists.
But I can't figure out who keeps sending me the Daily Worker. I didn't think I knew any real live Communists, or Socialists, I guess. Gee, I hope the FBI doesn't think I'm a sympathizer, or anything. Gee. Man. And where do all these travel brochures come from? I haven't even been to Oakland for the past five years! Yet Africa and New Guinea, not to mention London and Paris, are beckoning. I can't throw those away, either. Who knows? Maybe some day I'll go.
Hey! I wonder what Rijksinstituut Voor Hoger Beroepsonderwijs, Opleiding Tot Vertaler" means? Oh, I see. It's a school for translators in the Netherlands - actually the only one in Holland, it says. I see no airline ticket to Maastricht included, but I'm grateful that Her Majesty Queen Beatrix has sent me a personal invitation to enroll.
Goody! Here's The Angela Press. You can visit the Angela Center for a day of silence at a cost of only $20 (bring bag lunch). Or you can do water colors or get marriage counseling or experience Jesus. A "Day of Prayer" is a bargain at only $5. On the other hand, the "Focusing" workshop sounds rather a ripoff to me at $50. This is not photographic focusing, mind. It's something mental.
The best goes, I fear. I have only one copy of the elusive American Theosophlst and only one Gnostica. And I wonder whatever happened to that marvelous letter from Wilson (co-author of "Illuminatus" -remember?) written on marijuana import and gunrunner letterhead! Of course that hardly counts as gratuitous mail, but the good stuff can't help getting mixed in and lost in the shuffle. What's this old Intelligencer doing in here, for instance?
That's enough for now. If I try to pull out some of those pamphlets and magazines from the bottom, the whole pile will start sliding off onto the floor.
Poet, artist, commentator and lexicographer Ed Rehmus receives his mail in San Francisco, CA, a fact well known to junk mail distributors.
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