Giving new meaning to dead letter

Naturally, when you move you put in a change of address with the Post Office. Mostly, what you get is bills, magazines and similar items where they haven’t actually processed the change of address you gave them. It doesn’t take long, though for the direct junk mail industry to start sending things to your new address. I’m not talking about the ones that say “resident”; these are the ones that have your name and new address and seem to start arriving not long after you moved.

Yet my wife and I have been quite intrigued by a couple pieces of junk mail. In the last coupe weeks, my Dad has received offers from Direct TV and another retailer, both addressed to him at our new address. It’s not odd because my Dad doesn’t live with us. Nor is it the fact he never lived in Sioux Falls. It’s bizarre because he died in January 1993 — and his address certainly hasn’t changed since then.

Not only does this put a new spin on the concept of the dead letter, it seems to create another irony. Ben Franklin, the man who said only death and taxes were certain, was also the country’s first Postmaster General. Evidently, junk mail lists are more certain — or at least more longlasting — than death.

I get mail; therefore I am.

Dilbert, Dilbert, Oct. 26, 1990

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