Trip to mailbox gets distressing

Wayne MitchellA friend mentioned to me the other day that he only gets his mail out of the box once a week. I was a little surprised because it’s something I do every day.

I just supposed everyone did.

In fact, “getting the mail” is a chore I have looked forward to ever since I was a kid. I used to walk down a gravel lane to the road where the carrier left our mail in the rural galvanized-steel mailbox.

Maybe it’s a generational thing. Growing up, it was our way of communicating with the world.

Often, there were personal letters or cards from friends or relatives. Today, much of that is done by e-mail, Facebook or whatever.

I admit, though, that I don’t get the mail with as much anticipation as I once did. Oh, there’s more mail in the box than ever. But most of it is catalogs or junk mail. Some envelopes are cleverly disguised to look like an invitation or an official document, but there’s always the telltale “standard mail” postal insignia. Some of it gets thrown away unopened.

The content of the junk mail has changed, too.

The invitations for “free” time-share vacations, dinners with brokerage firms to discuss long-term investment strategies, and brochures focused on hiking, mountain-biking and adventure vacations have waned.

Instead, I get brochures for other things. The most pleasant are for cruise-ship vacations and luxury senior-travel tours. They depict folks my age or older smiling and seemingly having a great time.

Then, there’s an endless collection of Medicare supplement insurance plans and other mail focused on my teeth (or lack of them, according to one brochure) and my hearing (or lack of it).

What’s not in the mail anymore is the steady stream of letters from AARP for me to become a member. After more than a decade of the notices flooding our mailbox, they finally stopped.

No, AARP didn’t give up. I’m not sure they ever do unless the post office informs them you’ve died. I finally surrendered and joined. I don’t really use any of the benefits. But the dues aren’t very much and I enjoy reading some of the articles in the AARP magazine.

Only in the past month have I gotten distressed about the change in the contents of my mailbox. Two letters in particular.

The first was a solicitation to buy a burial plot.

The second was a flowery thing about making life easier on my family by relieving them of future stress and worry. Buried deep in the verbiage was a pitch to prepay my funeral and

burial expenses.

Golly, I thought. I’m not even retired. And I’m in good health. According to what I read in the AARP magazine, people are living much longer and living more active lives.

Do the funeral salesmen know something I don’t know?
Hopefully not.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by email at wayne.mitchell@journalinc.com.

About Wayne Mitchell

Publisher of the New Albany Gazette