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Lemon County: You Could Be A Winner...

Updated on December 15, 2011
You may already be a winner
You may already be a winner

Publishers Cleaning House?

I know it's disrespectful, but what if Publishers Clearing House had been around in year zero BCE, selling “Scroll and Decree of the Month” subscriptions to legionnaires and the like, in the recently liberated land of milk and honey?

Would there have been a mini scroll delivered to the "Of Nazareth Family”? You can imagine Joseph's face as he glanced at the outer scroll wrapping and wondered if, in fact, he could be a winner.

Or if Buckingham Palace is bombarded with letters to "Dear Mrs. Queen or Current Occupant?"

The senders of Junk mail seem to be completely unaware that this is meant to have become a paperless society. By now, we were supposed to be engaged in hand-to-hand combat with a resurgent tree population, claiming ever more land.

Now don't get me wrong, I rather like getting mail. I enjoy looking through some of the glossy brochures as soon as spring is over, exhorting me to buy things I really don't need for Christmas, but I'd love it to be a tad more selective.

The credit card companies are not yet aware that I'm trying to make a living from writing, so they send me hourly offers to help me plummet to ever-deeper depths of indebtedness. These new card offers are often pretty funny. My first name is Christopher, though only my mother calls me that (when she is not happy with me, and Christopher John, means I'm really in the doo.)

This presents the card people with a major challenge, as my name does not fit neatly into their pre-ordained little boxes. I am often referred to by my French "handle" of Christophe, or for some bizarre reason Christophy. The rest of the name mangling demonstrates ever-shorter versions, but so far, nothing sent to Chris, or Christ. (I would, of course forward that to the "Of Nazareths") Christo, Christop and Christoph, all show a reasonable attempt, but in their desire to be overly helpful, the interior forms have be pre filled-in with a wrong name.

Into the shredder with them all.

But, I have little to complain about when I start to think about some of my Polish and Indian friends. Their name mangling is practically award winning, as some of their last names can be fifteen letters or more. One of my friends at college wisely went by his initials only,

(R. J. Rathmahowtheheckdoyouspellthisthinganyway)

And at school “Rob Ross” was the convenience title, bestowed upon my pal, Robert Rospenziovski, by teachers lacking in confidence. It bugged the teachers to no end that his sister had a different last name (Rospenziovska), as cultural awareness had not been invented in the sixties, and in any case, got to England really late. (There are still some small hamlets awaiting the upgrade.)

Anyway, back to the stuff that comes uninvited to our homes. How exactly do these people know the second you turn fifty? Victoria’s Secret (I’ve been reading for years – no closer to knowing what the secret is,) suddenly stops, and you get helpful catalogs with warm underwear, bunion easing shoes, and technology to help you enlarge print.

I’m not paranoid, but there’s a guy on the Internet who knows me too. He sent me many, many, ads for a little blue pill, (and it was just that one time, honest, I was really tired, and stressed, so give me a break,) and all those pharmaceutical solutions to my little weight problem. I figured my keyboard was the culprit, letting the Internet know that my fingers had become fat. I fooled them, I typed with my little fingers for weeks.

Oh, and all the give-us-money, save a starving bisexual hippo, junk. What exactly do they expect people to do with all those wonderful (misspelled) name and address labels? Our household is of the more liberal and environmental bent, and when flush, love to help trees, water, glaciers and polar bears. Only thing is, you get on some list, and every bleeding heart organization on the planet starts to write to you.

The irony of a bulk mailer from “Save the Redwoods” is not lost on me. I suspect that they love Redwoods but hate all those pulp producing pines. (Decimation of the pines means more room for Redwoods, right?)

And let us not forget the arboreal sacrifice involved in everyone sending us “privacy policy” letters. Sure, we trust you to not send our inside leg measurements to your cronies, because you send us a ten-thousand word diatribe saying you won’t - quick survey, anyone read the whole thing?

Thought not.

I realize that I just don’t trust these mailer demons (pun intended.) I want to shout out of the window, “I am not just a consumer, I’m a human being” (Wasn’t “Network” a great movie?) I am so much more than my potential customer status.

I do not need anything Grand Old Road or Sidegate imports from China, no matter how beautifully it is photographed at some very wealthy person’s house. And, Mr. Schamelessly Hammingitup, though tempting, I do not need to buy jackets – or any other clothing for that matter – for my iPad, iPod, iPhone or iDon’tknowwhat. Mr. Harrington, special shoes for driving, really? It is entirely possible to drive in any pair of shoes (except maybe clown shoes.) Air filters with built in iPod dock? Nice try, Mr. Brookstone. “New” stuff from a museum, Mrs. Smithsonian-Metropolitan? Just stick with the antiquities, and leave me alone.

Weird, I know, but at least the Mormons and Watchtower people come in person, to give you their unsolicited pieces of paper. (I get low on human companionship some days, and they are usually very nice people to chat with for a while.)

However, junk mail is not going to disappear anytime soon, and there is always the chance that you (or the current occupant) could be a winner…

Dear Hub Reader

If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.

Available directly from:



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    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      I feel your pain! Thanks for letting me know there are so many more delights to be looking forward to...

      And painting an entire ranch, how can that be possible? You're a girl...

      There is probably an underground market for viagra, you might want to look into that, think of the names you could give the DBA - "Woodies Ranch" comes to mind.

      And in closing, my Doctor, also a girl, but good despite her gender (dis)advantage, sent my last set of results, not to Hancock Street, but to Man... you get the picture!


    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

      Just wait. In your 70s you get offers for scooters so you can be mobile again, some sort of bathtub with a side entrance so you don't even have to step up and over to relax in it. There are hearing aids, dentures, retirement homes, - you name it. Even questionnaires about whether you're able to bathe yourself, feed yourself, wipe yourself. It's disgusting. I can paint the house if I want to. And I might!

      And the slough of offers to get a 'reverse mortgage" on your house! All you have to do is sign up and they pay you back your equity and then the house belongs to them when you die, not your heirs. Of course, if you happen to live longer than the equity covers, you still get your monthly check - but the heirs owe them for the difference when you die. Well - as some old folks put on the bumper slickers of their 'Vettes "I'm spending my kids' inheritance." Might be wise, at that!

      To add to the load, my husband's first wife, who died in 1985 still gets junk mail to this address, and so does my beloved even after his death 2 years ago. He had several DBAs, too - so there are catalogs of equipment for his "businesses" coming in all the time. Well, for that matter - I have a DBA for my ranch and the place is so remote there's no light pollution, but since my mailing address is Dallas, I get all kinds of questionnaires about how many employees I have and wanting to provide group insurance for them, as well as ways to take credit cards from my customers. I have none of either. I get phone calls on it too. When I say "It's a RANCH" there is slight pause before they continue. I think they imagine it like the Southfork Ranch in the TV series "DALLAS" or the Ponderosa Ranch in the Bonanza series? It’s not a puny ranch, but it’s NOT even remotely like those.

      I don't shred the entire things. I just tear off the identifying stuff for the shredder. But it is amazing how many times they print one's full name & address, plus an account # they've presumed to assign to it, and the "code" they give for taking up the offer and other pertinent info throughout a single mailing! Of course - the worry that it may identify me to some crook is a moot point since it already obviously DID!

      And those blank checks from credit cards. All you have to do is write one, even up to the full amount of your credit allowance with them (and there are so many, that using them all would take the ranch to pay for them!) - They say "no interest" or a low interest for using them, but the fine print also mentions a % rate for just using them and it's near the going interest rate, which could also be added to some of them. Wow. It's almost a full time job shredding these days.

      As for the address stickers - well those are more identification items to be shredded - and with sticky backs too. My husband still gets those - and his first wife who has been dead for 25 years gets a few now and then, too. They still identify the address here.

      Speaking of names. Try Nellieanna! LOL. My husband's whole name was George L. Hay II. He got things addressed to II Hay George and inside -"Dear Mr. George:". I saw one to "Dear Mr. II" ! Computers just don't get it, do they? lol.

      And the "free gift" of, say, a little plastic letter opener which breaks if you put in into the crease of an envelope, or a bunch of greeting cards that you’d be embarrassed to send out since they identify the charity as the source and people know they’re sent out gratis in hopes of getting a donation! Then they try to make you feel like a criminal or at least a selfish rat for not sending them a "donation" in the already addressed envelope with your name in the "return" position preprinted on it.

      My latest peeve though - is a "Statement" of what I owe to some charity I once gave a contribution! GRRRRR. And the magazines who start asking for renewals long before the subscription has expired. GRRRRR

      Oh - and online I get offers for Viagra, cheap. (Faint)

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      Wasn't me I promise.

      I think buying a car puts on some list. Ever noticed that a month or so after you've visited the DMV you get a Jury notice...

      Just saying,


    • profile image

      LA 7 years ago

      I had no junk mail until I moved to Long Beach! Somebody sold my info to "Them".

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      And for a small donation of, say, $100, I'll show you how to make hundreds of dollars a day just sitting at your computer. All you need is ten minutes and an internet connection...


    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 7 years ago from Indiana

      You would do that for me? Your generosity knows no bounds. :)

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      Merci, you are too kind.

      I actually won about fifteen lotteries all over Europe last year, only I didn't. I invested all my money in an African bank scheme. All you need to do is give me your SS number and the details of your bank and stuff, and I'll send you half...


    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 7 years ago from Indiana

      I love "junk" mail! I use it in the wood stove.

      Great hub, Christophe.