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Danny's Junk Mail

Average: 3.3 (6 votes)

“What are you doing up there, sweetheart, darling and love of my life?” my wife calls up the stairs... “not to mention, possibly the greatest man alive on the entire planet today?”

Okay... so I may have taken some poetic liberty with the direct speech there, but you get the gist...

“I’m just writing the October ‘What I Mean Is’ section for ‘English In Your Inbox’” I call down.

“Oh, you mean your monthly semi-psychotic rant”, she says sweetly, coming up the stairs and standing in the doorway to my study. “So who or what are you going to violently verbally abuse this month?”


“I don’t know what you mean!” I exclaim indignantly, swiveling in my chair to frown at her while simultaneously trying to surreptitiously delete the line I’ve just written – something about George W Bush being a complete moron with the brains of a can of fly spray.

“Sweetheart, darling and love of my life”, my wife says (or rather, doesn’t say, but I’m sure she’s implying it with some pretty nifty intonation), “I love you very much, but you do have a tendency to grumble a little in your articles. And complain. A bit. And find fault, gripe, grouch, moan, repine, whine, whinge, mutter and mumble. Darling”.

“Repine? Have you been reading my thesaurus again?” I demand, and she smiles prettily and heads back downstairs to do whatever it is she does when I’m not ruining her plans with my presence.

I think back over the past year or so. Maybe she’s right. Over the past twelve odd months I’ve ripped into practically every member of my family, toasters, vacuum cleaners, burnt toast, textspeak and the instructions that accompany every product under the sun, junk mail...

Hang on. Junk mail. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned junk mail...

“I’ll show you!” I yell down the stairs. “I’m going to write a very positive article today. It’s going to be cheerful and... and...” I reach for my thesaurus – two can play at that game... “... and animated, and blithe, bright, buoyant, chirpy, enlivening, enthusiastic and gay. Not to mention genial, glad, happy, hearty, jaunty, jolly, merry, optimistic, pleasant, sparkling, sprightly and sunny! And upbeat too!”


“Yes dear”, my wife calls up dismissively.

Right! Positive!


Okay. So it’s really hot and sunny today. A lovely day. Beautiful, in fact.


Birds are singing and... er...


Okay, so I hate junk mail! Who doesn’t? Honestly?

I’m talking about the junk mail that comes slithering through my letter-box every morning, collecting in a technicolour heap of glossy promises on my doormat. Unlike my email inbox, you see, my door doesn’t have a spam filter.

I’ve split the kind of junk-mail I receive into three categories – there’s the brightly-coloured miniature catalogues that normally come from supermarkets or hardware stores which highlight in great big red numbers the fact their prices on cat-food, plant-pots and toilet-brushes are two percent cheaper than other supermarkets. Which is fine and dandy, but my point is this... I’m eventually going to go to the supermarket anyway, and therefore I will find out for myself that the swivel-headed, multi-nozzled, long-handled, rechargeable, refillable, triple-action-pumped garden hose (available in twenty-six different brilliant colours!!!)... has been discounted by one percent. I don’t need a rainforest’s worth of leaflet sitting on my doormat to tell me this. In fact, if it wasn’t for the money wasted on these leaflets, the supermarket in question would be able to afford to make the aforementioned product twenty percent cheaper. I might consider buying it then, despite not actually having a garden, or anything to water.

Then there are the single-sheet fliers of the ‘buy-one-of-these-useless-items-and-get-one-of-these-other-useless-items-completely-free!’ variety. There are two things that ever-so-slightly occasionally mildly irritate me (positive! Be positive!) about these fliers. Firstly, the fact that the two items in question are never even slightly related to each other, as in – “Buy one Stephen King novel today, and get half a dozen eggs for free!” And secondly, there’s always some kind of condition imposed, normally printed in tiny writing at the very bottom of the flier – “This offer only available between midnight and one ayem on days that begin with a ‘W’, for one week only, provided that a full moon can be clearly seen through a closed window with the curtains drawn”.

Thirdly, and finally, there’s the junk mail that attempts to be ‘obscure and mysterious’. A black business card sized piece of cardboard, for example, with the words ‘Be there!’ embossed on it in silver. And nothing else. The idea, of course, as dreamt up by a bunch of planks that call themselves ‘marketing executives’, is to arouse your interest and make you feel important. You are expected to know where ‘there’ is. You are ‘in the know’. You are one of the ‘social elite’ with ‘a finger on the pulse’. You are ‘with it’. You are ‘hip’.

You are clueless. You have absolutely no idea where ‘there’ is, and you will never find out because asking anybody means that you’re not as ‘with it’ or ‘hip’ as you may have led people to believe. And if you did ask anybody, they would raise an eyebrow and look at each other and smirk and say things like ‘oh my god! Do you believe it!? He doesn’t know where ‘there’ is!’

And neither do they, which is why, a couple of days later, there are billboards all around town screaming out “Be THERE!” followed by an address, a date, a time, a detailed map, a bus timetable and a list of all popular landmarks within a six-mile radius. All of which render the little black business card jobbie completely pointless... um... absurd, aimless, futile, inane, ineffectual, irrelevant... and useless.

So, on a positive note, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and today... today... for the first time in a very long time... I didn’t receive a single item of junk mail in the post. Not one. My doormat was completely devoid of colourful magazines, special offers and cryptic cards in monochrome. It is, in fact, a beautiful day.

I run downstairs to wipe my wife’s face in it.

“It’s Sunday”, she points out. “The post doesn’t come today”.


By Danny

Link: How to use 'Even'