Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Returned to Sender Due to Addressee’s Violation of Postal False Representation Law

When a person is enduring a lawsuit of any kind—divorce, perjury, embezzlement, malfeasance, defrocking, impeachment—walking to the mailbox can be an anxiety-producing event. Opening its cover and seeing what lies within can be like uncovering maggots in your briefs.

Years ago while being railroaded by judicial system thugs—mean, small-minded pond scum who used my daughter as a pawn to torment me and threw law interpretations around like gangsters would a dead cat—I couldn't foresee what deceptive accusations would fall into my mailbox. To protect my soul, my postman would offer to hold certain pieces till I was emotionally hardened and ready to receive the fraud I’d eventually open.

Trauma throughout life can elicit responses to stress that make the brain shut down. Perpetrators seem to have an ability to victimize the innocent to make them feel as if somehow they, the prey, are criminals. Perps are like that.

Six years after my daughter became free from a very abusive situation and my family finally gained some peace, I received a piece of mail that looked official and did the wrong thing: I reacted without reading the correspondence top to bottom. It was a Periodic Report, purportedly from the Secretary of State, informing me I was delinquent (by months) in renewing my $10 annual fee and now owed $225. Indeed, I had not renewed the corporation I started in 1986 because I didn’t use it and had discussed the issue with a gal at the SoS’s office, stating that my intent was to dissolve the corporation. She told me how to told me to proceed, and I heeded her instruction.

The document I received looked legitimate, but it wasn’t. Had I not reacted from Mailbox Fear and read the entire page, particularly the bottom quarter, I would have seen this:

“This product or service has not been approved or endorsed by any Government Agency and this offer [note: offer] is not being made by an agency of the Government. U.S.C. 39.6.3001(d). This is a solicitation for the order of services, and not a bill, invoice or statement of account due. You are under no obligation to make any payments on account of this offer.”

As a very detail-oriented editor, I know that most of our government forms, heck, almost everyone’s printed pieces, are riddled with errors. It upsets me that few respect our language enough to learn it. But in this case, angst replaced detail orientation.

So in reaction to this document, I jotted them a note mentioning the date I talked with the SoS gal and her name and returned the document in the envelope provided.

Ten months later the same envelope I’d mailed with my note was returned unopened with a red, all-uppercase U.S. Postal Service stamp: RETURNED TO SENDER DUE TO ADDRESSEE’S VIOLATION OF POSTAL FALSE REPRESENTATION LAW.

Hmm, I am the sender, so how is the addressee in violation? I went to usps.com and found numerous USPS lawsuits against organizations. All were fraud cases. Many people illicitly have attempted to get victims to give them money. The words transgression of the law were in the USPS claims, which sounded very biblical.

Then I googled the words of the red stamp and found www.ripoffreport.com/small-business-services/corporate-controller/corporate-controllers-unit-pe-69f53.htm

“The solicitation looks very official citing that ‘Colorado Corporations Code Requires Periodic Report’ and ‘CORPORATIONS CODE SECTION, 7-90-301 AND 7-90-501 Colorado Revised Statues (C.R.S)’

“It's not until the bottom of the letter that it reads ‘This is a solicitation for the order of services, and not a bill, invoice or statement of account due’

“Unfortunately, many companies may be duped into thinking this is an official notice for payment by the State of Colorado and end up paying these scammers the $225 fee.”

Also, “By the way, Corporate Controllers Unit, it's U.S.C. 39.4.3001(d) that you should be referencing not 39.6 (which doesn't even exist!). For the intern at CCU the roman numerals are: IV = 4, VI = 6, there is no part 6 of Title 39.”

Bottom line: Don’t let fear be your guide.

Monday, March 19, 2012

You Who

Late one night I went online to read the local obituaries and saw a name that my friend would be relieved seeing, due to the harm the deceased had inflicted upon my friend’s children.

I quickly tapped a one-liner with a link to the obit and included a Clarence Darrow quote, “I have never killed anyone, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.”*

Immediately the email bounced back because I’d inadvertently sent it to an old address, and thank goodness it did. My one-liner read: “Did you hear you died?” rather than “who.” Ho llew.

* Clarence Darrow, American lawyer (1857–1938), http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Clarence_Darrow

Wearing Diapers Again

Whenever my daughter sneezes, I ask, “Did ya wet your pants?!”

She rolls her eyes at me and, playing my game, answers, “Sure did. Nice ’n’ warm.”

We’re strange like that, springing off each other’s thoughts. Free association, wild style. I’m drawn to quick-witted types who keep my mind humming.

Like my spirit mate of 27 years. Unfortunately, he contracted a nasty case of influenza, so on top of all his regular doctor and therapy appointments, he has had to add another to the docket. What a terrible waste of precious time and energy. Though he’s on the mend and heads into work, his vigor quickly wanes. Never the poorer, he’s endowed with a wry sense of humor.

“Your body is telling you to go home and rest,” I said to him, even though he’s extraordinarily driven and likes spending alone time at his recording studio where he composes symphonies, concertos, and other movements you don’t flush.

He’s a rare person who has become famous, or should I say, notorious, prehumously vs. the more common posthumously. Still, his knees almost always quiver when he’s standing before an appreciative audience. I can relate.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to get together soon,” he said with a slight air of doubt in his voice. Seems when a person is ill, it’s hard to imagine feeling better. When a body’s energy is zapped, tending only to restoring health, it can feel as if you’re never going to be better. “It’s hell getting old,” he said. “Takes longer to heal.”
“Maybe we should reverse the process and start getting younger but without needing diapers.” Then, as if on cue, something flew up my nose. "A-choo! (pause) Whoops! Too late."

If you don’t understand, wait a few years.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dead Girl Makes Great Date

At book club we’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth since August 12, 2010. I joked with my friend, Anita, that we’d probably never finish the book and end up taking Eckhart to the grave with us. Each month we’d only go through a few pages. It’s not that we’re just learning English or that we find consciousness such a difficult topic to absorb, but we girls can talk!

Imagine my surprise when we finally completed the book March 14, 2012, 19 months after we began.

In the last chapter, Tolle wrote about how Western societies have little respect for the old, who when they’ve breathed their last, aren’t seen anymore. It’s as if death should be hidden. I commented that two of my friends had died in November, as well as two uncles in recent days or months, and cremation has taken the place of the wake.

“We travel from different parts of the country or world these days,” I said, “so it’s hard to get people in one place quickly. Of course, I certainly don’t want people looking at my dead, old body.”

“Well, at that point, you’re gone. You shouldn’t care,” Diana said.

“Yeah,” I continued, “friends would probably look at my corpse and say, ‘Gee, she looks pretty good all plumped up. No more wrinkles.’”

To which Diana volleyed, “Yes, death really becomes her. She should’ve died a long time ago. She looks really good!”

“I can see it now, pictures of the new dead me circulating on the Web. ‘Lookin’ better than ever. The new dead Auntie.’”

“We could put your face on match.com!” Diana exclaimed enthusiastically. “You know, just the head shot taken from the casket.”

“And the pitch: ‘Doesn’t say much. Quiet by nature.'”
“Not much trouble. Cheap date,” Diana threw in. We were on a roll, laughing so hard, tears flowed down our faces. Our other book clubbers couldn’t keep up with the speed and sat with mouths agape.

“Won’t embarrass your family,” I threw in, thinking of my past.


“Focused and attentive. A good listener.”

“She doesn’t look so tired. Must be getting more rest.”

“Gotta get the name of that hairdresser.”

“Check out her nails.”

Maybe they’ll even give me boobs.


For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked nuts. The hankering likely comes from my dad’s side of the family. During football season back in the 1960s, he’d enjoy a Pabst or two and salted peanuts. At Christmastime we’d take a sledgehammer to walnuts, revealing fruit only an adult would like.

In fourth grade almost every day after school, I’d come home and make a not-so-chocolaty chocolate malt. I’d use a fork to break up the vanilla ice cream, the kind Mom would buy in a five-quart bucket—oh boy!—and add just the right amount of whole milk and malt powder to ensure it didn’t get too soupy. After I had ground the ice cream to a perfect texture and swirled the thick, caramel-colored delight the right number of times (OCD was my normal), I’d top it with salted or dry roasted peanuts. Oh my gosh! Definitely worth the effort.

We’d often travel to a food warehouse in St. Cloud, Minnesota, a couple hours from Montevideo, to stock up on supplies we either couldn’t buy in Monte or didn’t want to pay too much for. Mom would always buy me a huge box of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate and peanut flavors in one scrumptious bite. Life couldn’t get much better at that time. Honest. I’d store them in my bed’s headboard, a sliding-door cubby, and each day I would allow myself one peanut butter cup. That’s discipline, because each package held two. But the decision was mine, even at eight or nine years old. I owned those treasures. I have always been the type to save the best till last, and I wanted the best to last.

My freshman year of college meant freedom, even though I lived in a dorm and ate at “Hillslop,” our nickname for the cafeteria at the top of the hill in dormland. Freedom for me meant eating what I wanted and in quantities I wanted—not needed, which is a whole ’nother concept. That was in the autumn of 1977.

I never really thought about body weight. Back then it simply wasn’t a big issue. Models were models. Fat people were fat people. And some friends thought I was anorexic. I hung out with everyone, and they hung out with me. We didn’t give weight much weight.

But one morning when I prepped for class, I couldn’t zip my stretchy pants, yes, stretchy pants with a button on top, not that the button mattered at that point since it was two inches away from the buttonhole.

By late spring 1978 I needed a new wardrobe. As I packed my belongings to head from Eau Claire to Wausau for the summer, I thought, How did I grow so? Then, in a sort of dreamlike disaster, I pictured it. After each day’s smörgåsbord, I’d waddle to the ice cream area. A few flavors and every topping you can imagine held up their hands saying, “Eat me! Eat me!”

But I’m not always a softie. I’d pretend I didn’t hear them and walk on by. Then, so they couldn’t see me, I’d dip my hand into the cold freezer and draw out a crisp chocolate-covered ice cream bar. Yum! But something was missing on those babies, something that only my friend, the peanut, could rectify. I’d wobble backward a bit to the five-gallon bucket of smooth peanut butter and slather it all over my ice cream bar—front, back, and sides.


And so my pants wouldn’t button.

I must’ve puffed up like a soufflé those first two semesters, because three months later when school started again, a couple of the girls who lived with me on the fifth floor of Towers didn’t recognize me. They’d grown accustomed to watching the evolution of the Two-Ton Tillie I’d inadvertently become. But over the summer, I’d accidentally fallen back into Twiggie mode. Thank God, ’cause I didn’t really want to buy a new wardrobe.

My nut addiction didn’t wane during my sophomore year, either. I felt grown up that year and raised my standards by buying cans of Planters Mixed Nuts, the good stuff with no peanuts. In two nights, I could magically make the entire 20,000-calorie can of cashews, Brazil nuts, almonds, macadamias, hazelnuts, and pecans disappear. Fortunately, with consistent bike riding to and from work (four hilly miles away, and I had a car), I didn’t regain Tillie status.

In 1980 I entered my fourth and final year of college. Three young women and I rented a large home three miles from UW–Eau Claire and very close to where two of us worked, the Eau Claire School District’s Board of Education building. On decent-weather days I’d bike the distance and, again, develop quite an appetite. To reward myself for biking and not using my car, I’d head over to Randall’s grocery and buy a super-large container of Skippy crunchy peanut butter. Now I know some think Jif is better, but I’m a Skippy girl, and those who know me would agree that I can be a little skippy at times.

Fearing my skippiness could become pudginess without some budgetary constraint, I would hide the jar of peanut butter from myself under my bed so I couldn’t find it—except at 7:30 every evening. I’d ensure no one was in sight, open the silverware drawer ever so quietly, lift a tablespoon out of its section, then wiggle into my bedroom and gently close the door.

On my belly next to my bed, I’d be thinking how great God was to give me long arms. With my hand wrapped around the wide jar, I drew it closer to my big, blue eyes. Eager and salivating like a dog, I’d unscrew the cover, set it aside, and dip my waiting spoon into the crunch. I was always amazed at how much that spoon could carry, but it somehow was strong enough to reach my lips, where I'd nibble and nibble till it was almost gone. Then, as Mom used to let me do, I’d lick the spoon.
What is it about foods we crave? What comprises its lusciousness that keeps us coming back for more? Hmm, let's see. Between my Kroger crunchy peanut butter and two-and-a-half-pound container of Kirkland mixed nuts, the common denominator is…fat.

Hey, what a way to go.