Everybody is happy. Smiling. They’re lounging in photogenic places – strolling barefoot in the surf or relaxing in a fancy schmantzy mountain cabin beside a natural stone fireplace. They’re on a yacht, in a hammock strung between two palm trees, flyfishing in the mountains, hiking or kayaking or tending a garden. They all have perfect straight sparkly white teeth. Their clothing is clean, ironed, color-coordinated, impeccable. All are manicured and pedicured and adorned with appropriate jewelry. The wind blows their hair in flattering, fetching waves. Attractive models are all “sharing a laugh” with other attractive models.
And every few pages, someone is playing with an adorable golden retriever puppy.
Life isn’t like this, is it?
Puppies poop. Hair gets tangled and stringy or frizzy, fingernails break, clothing gets sweaty and stained. People sometimes share scowls instead of laughs. They say mean things and argue and hold grudges and seek revenge.
Where do these catalogs come from?
Six days a week my mail carrier, Willie, folds at least three or four fat full-color catalogs in half and pushes them through a miniscule mail slot in my front door. They suffer major damage. My neighbor calls the mail slot in his door “the shredder.”
These publications from Happy Land drop with a thud on my foyer floor. Some are welcome but many are inappropriate and get thrown into the recycle bin immediately. They’re from companies that sell stuff I don’t buy or companies I’ve never heard of and have never purchased anything from.
I’m a senior citizen, a bit overweight, dealing with arthritis and other minor senior-related glitches. Nevertheless, every month I get a glossy catalog showcasing sexy, revealing clothing draped seductively on young curvaceous female models wearing mile-high slingbacks.
Twice a year I get a more modestly-produced booklet selling down-on-the-farm items like bib-front overalls, voluminous muumuus, thick-soled sensible shoes and hideous zip-up-the-front flowered garments my mother used to call “house dresses.”
I also regularly get a publication selling stuff like back braces and compression stockings and walk-in bathtubs. I’ll put that one aside and flip through it later.
Some 10 years ago, right after the ubiquitous avalanche of Christmas catalogs from everywhere thwapped dully on my foyer floor, I spent an entire dismal snowy January morning with my computer and phone. I wrote emails to -- or called -- every single company that had sent me a catalog touting things I didn’t want. I asked to be taken off their mailing lists. I initiated more than two dozen emails and phone calls.
Every single company told me something like this: “We’re so sorry to see you go. We will remove your name from our mailing list. Our catalogs are published with a long lead time and our mailings are scheduled many weeks in advance. It will take two or three months for your request to be honored.”
It really did take two or three months. Sometimes more. But most of the paper-wasters stopped coming. The shredder ceased shredding.
That was about a dozen years ago. For some reason, I’m back on everybody’s mailing list again – plus a few new ones -- and I’m getting three or four unwanted catalogs every single day.
The shredder is back in business. The first dreary fall day I’m going to put a stop to this. Again.