Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved getting mail. I loved it so much that I had several pen pals. Back in the mid-70’s, we were encouraged in school to write to strangers, mainly foreign children and shut-ins. Sure, I may have been writing to psychopaths, prisoners and Carter Democrats, but that never bothered me. Yes, I’d receive the occasional request for a soiled sock or a “Whip Inflation Now!” button, but I didn’t care. I was getting mail! It was very validating for a young man.
As a kid, an envelope with your name on it was almost always good news; it was a birthday card, Ranger Rick Magazine or Sea Monkeys.
As an adult, it’s almost always the opposite; a bill, junk mail or a restraining order. But at least someone took the time to put your name on an envelope and pay for postage.
Today, some of that wide-eyed, childhood altruism died when I received an envelope addressed to: Dylan Bolin or Current Resident.
OR CURRENT RESIDENT? It seemed to me that this letter was casting a very large net. Besides, there’s a pretty big drop off from me, the intended recipient and, say, ANYONE ELSE.
It immediately identified the contents of the envelope as junk. I would be a fool to participate in any activity or purchase any product that was endorsed by this mailing. It’s like proposing to your girlfriend by saying: “Honey, will you marry me…or, if not, do you know of literally anyone else who might? I’m good with that, too.”
I mean, would you chisel into a tombstone: “Here Lies Edgar Beefwhistle. Or any of a number of other people who died around the same time?” No, you would not.
Now, in the past, I have been the “Current Resident.” This is actually kind of exciting. I felt like I was intercepting a Top Secret communiqué.
“Siding estimate, huh. What kind of sick bastard lived here before me?”
I wanted to follow this bit of mail further down the rabbit hole, and call the 1-800 number. Would the person on the other end be a Russian Femme Fatale? Perhaps we would arrange a meeting, and, when she found out I was “Current Resident,” she would threaten me with a tiny pistol she kept in her garter belt. Then, under the crushing weight of forbidden sexual tension, and with light, crisp dialogue, we would join forces to take down an evil international syndicate, but not before she died in my arms.
Or the operator would send a siding salesman by on Tuesday.
But I think I have a solution: I’m going to change my name to “Current Resident.” This will effectively quadruple the amount of ego-sustaining mail that I receive. I will not fight it; I will invite it. If I am not the intended recipient, I will become the intended recipient.
This has worked very well in the past for receiving numerous credit cards when I changed my name to “John Doe, of 123 Every Street, Anytown, U.S.A.”