I can remember a time in my life, many years ago when I actually wished for more mail. As a kid I had a subscription to several comic books and was really excited when the latest issue arrived. I bet they don’t even have mail subscriptions any longer. If I received a letter from my Grandmother I was always thankful for her letter as well as the money she enclosed. Mostly the money.

But as we get older I find that going to the mailbox just doesn’t seem to be as much fun as it used to be. By the time you sort through all of the catalogs and special deals from people and companies you’ve never heard of, you are left with a pile of bills that you didn’t want in the first place.

From time to time I manage to get removed from most of the junk mail addresses, but somehow they find me again and start the process all over. There is one particular bank that sends me credit card offers a couple of times a week. I only wish I had the money they must spend on postage. Trust me.if they had access to mailing lists in the Middle East, I’d be willing to bet they could get a letter to Osama Bin Ladin in a matter of days. These people are relentless.

What makes me wonder is how do these people make any money’ Most of the medical junk mail I get concerns so called ‘ miracle’ cures for everything from dandruff to cancer. Some of the stuff is offered for free. I’ve made the mistake of responding to some of those and find that doing so causes your mail to increase at an alarming rate. On any number of occasions I’ve used a different first name just to see what happens. I can tell you what happens; they sell the name you give them to other direct mail companies. Thus your mail will increase. Count on it.

The quality of junk mail you receive can also be altered by using a different prefix. For example, if I write Dr. Perry or General Perry on the reply card, I find the junk mail increases for the better. I get a lot more offers to plush resorts as well as investment opportunities. If I call myself Rev. Perry, the offers seem to be somewhat different.

On the other hand if I respond and tell them that my name is Bubba Perry, then the quality drops off the chart and I start getting advertisements about hunting and fishing as well as offers on new mobile homes. Bubba Perry also seems to attract a larger number of ‘ improve your credit’ opportunities and not as many investment letters as when I was Dr. Perry.

I am at a loss to explain this.

Bubba also gets offers for new wheels and rims for his truck and Reverend Perry gets offers for Christian book stores. Go figure.

What I can’t figure out is how ‘ they’ know when you are doing well financially and when you are struggling to get by. Is there some secret clearing house in the country where analysts sit around and look at our income and spending habits just so they will know what kind of mail to send to you’

I don’t even want to know the answer to that one. I suppose if some folks have the ability to see you eating a ham sandwich from a satellite fifteen thousand miles in the sky, then I’d bet there are people who can track what we spend our money on and how much we have left over. They probably read these articles as well just to see what is being said around the country.

I hope this is true.

So, if you are reading this and are working on mailing lists, let me bring you up to date. I have no money; I cannot use any investment tools for a condo in Panama. I don’t need to hide my assets; I don’t play golf so stop sending me the resort packages.

I also don’t need more Irish lottery tickets or notices that some unknown uncle in Nigeria has left me eighteen million in cash. You can stop sending me these ‘secret and special’ investment opportunities that only go out to a ‘select’ few fortunate people. The general gets these, but Bubba doesn’t.

One strange thing I have noticed is the fact that the general, the reverend and Bubba all get a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Makes you wonder what their criteria for list generation is.

Maybe not.