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SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Mailbox of Despair | 10-17-2016
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2001 - Then-Assemblyman George Runner introduces legislation to memorialize the historic Ridge Route. Enacted Oct. 4. [story]


Commentary by Philip Scorza
| Monday, Oct 17, 2016

philipscorza_2015Without having met me, someone from the medical field, let’s say a psychiatrist, would probably diagnose me as clinically depressed simply by reading my mail.

Let me explain.

A few months ago, I took my retirement from teaching. Suddenly the solicitations and free offers I get courtesy of the post office are discouraging. Where I used to get enticements for fun-living things, such as timeshares at some exotic place, or ocean and river cruises, now it seems my name has been moved to a new mailing list – one that does not provide for fun things … or even a future.

Recently, I drove down to my mailbox where I found five pieces of mail addressed to me personally. Not to “current resident,” but to me, Philip Scorza.

The first piece of mail came from a funeral service that promised me “a burial with dignity.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I figure if they are burying me, I must be dead. And if I’m dead, why do I care if my aunt lights into my uncle for the umpteenth time about his slovenly habits and the fact that he didn’t take that job way back when it was offered to him? For all I care, people at my funeral can get as undignified as they want. They’re family. It won’t bother me.

The second piece of mail, delivered in a lavender and scented envelope, came to me from the Neptune Society. These fine people are offering me a burial at sea. No mention of dignity here. Just a nice ocean cruise for my friends and what remains of me. I’m guessing they drop my carcass overboard for all of the fish to feed on. I wonder if there will be a frenzy – by the fish, at least. Their offer doesn’t specify whether swimsuits are optional.

The third piece of mail was from something called Audiology Today. At least these people are giving me the benefit of the doubt. They figure I will be around for a while, and that’s encouraging. With their product, “which fits neatly in the ear and is hardly noticeable from across a well-lit room,” I will be able to hear what the people around me are saying.

The only problem is, I’m not sure I want to. Often I wish I could turn a deaf ear to what some people are saying. Like the parents in the restaurant who yell at their kids to shut up because they are shrieking and squealing, or the lady in line at the grocery store who argues with the credit card machine, or the guy next to me who carries on a conversation even though he has no cell phone in his hand.

I’ve got a helpful hint for the people at Audiology Today: Advertise a handy volume control on your product, and I might look into it – if and when the time comes. And I won’t care if it can be seen from across the room.

My fourth piece of mail is something called a “reverse mortgage.” These people are offering to buy my house from me, sight unseen, at today’s market value. They will let me live in it forever – or until I need the services of the first two mailings. Here, the sender is banking (hoping, praying?) that when I do kick the bucket, the value of my house will have gone up, and they can sell it for their profit. In the meantime, I get to live in my house until I can no longer sit upright, or something like that. I never read the fine print because I’m not interested.

My fifth piece of mail is from the champion of all older people, the AARP. Formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, or anyone over age 50. I get a lot of stuff from them. Two magazines every month and plenty of offers for me to buy life insurance without having to take a physical. I don’t object to AARP mail because they address stuff that affects people my age who are still alive and plan to stay that way. These include plenty of helpful tips, such as how not to get scammed when you’re doddering, or how not to mix up your medications. The point is, even though I end up throwing it out, I’m not depressed or in need of a shrink when it arrives in my mailbox. I find some of it useful, and I find some of it entertaining. I guess I don’t mind these people because they haven’t given up on me. With them, that’s business as usual.

Maybe that’s the way I should look at the other mailings, too. Nothing personal, just business as usual. Don’t let it get you depressed, just throw it out. Or maybe the answer is to get used to the fact that services I’m being offered at this time in my life have everything to do with shuffling off this mortal coil.

Naw.

So now when I go to my mailbox, I have a new mindset: Throw out the stuff that upsets me … and then throw out the rest, too.

 

Philip Scorza is a retired high school teacher who lives in Castaic.

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5 Comments

  1. Melissa says:

    Wait until your phone number makes it to the telemarketers. An especially annoying one begins with a recorded, but cheery “Hello senior!” Gee, thanks for the unnecessary reminder fella. Unnecessary because my soon to be banished mirror said the same thing this morning, as it has daily for the last [mumble] years.

    Love your retirement, you deserve it.
    Maybe you can get back to the videos of historical places in the S.C. Valley. I loved those.

  2. Pat says:

    Could be worse. Our mailbox is chock full of election stuff these days. One consolation–the ones on cardboard are great scooper-uppers for the “mistakes” our aging cat makes all over the house. I wonder if they have junk mail to cover HIM?

  3. Denise Rue Denise Rue says:

    What a FOX… one of the reasons I married you,. And thousands of others.

  4. jim says:

    Yes! More video trips in, around and about the valley of the Little Santa Clara River. Especially if you can find some wet spots in the river (the shallows at the Ventura County line don’t count – they’re covered by Arundo Donax.

    But you’d better hurry up on those new videos before the things we saw 30 years ago aren’t around or accessible anymore.

    Can I borrow your photo and use it as mine? You’re a lot better/younger-looking than I am.

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