All those calls and letters ...
It's happened again. A mailing to "Current Single Resident" at our address.
To be fair, I haven't tried to block unsolicited print mail or e-mail. As for their sibling, telemarketing, I wasn't among the thousands who earlier this month could hear (that is, not hear) the first expected results of signing up for our state's new Do Not Call Registry.
But a solicitor by any name should know that the only current single resident at our address is a mouse. And sometimes I'm not sure about him or her.
What if I qualified?
"Fun-loving grandpa with formerly brown hair seeks fun- tolerant grandma of ageless beauty for forcing forsythia, sharing the remote, having one-sided conversations, and more. Hoping for long-term relationship."
But I already have all that. Why a second notice to our house?
Under linked hearts, the envelope refers to serving "quality" singles. Does that mean a certain ZIP code? Then there's the foreboding line: "Now... More Than Ever... Relationships Matter (in red and underlined)."
Inside are a confidential profilequestionnaireand an offer to analyze it free. But there's nothing confidential about my leaving blank all of the boxes for athletic interest in "the person you are seeking": "Very active," "Active," "Occasionally," "Does not matter."
As for profiling myself, I'm pondering the box "I do not meet enough quality people."
Now another dating service has addressed me as "Current Single Resident," saying its clients "are actually people who want to be more selective. If they had wanted to settle, they could have done that a long time ago." Wait till my wife hears this.
This whole thing may seem below the radar for quality readers. But if you haven't received your "current single resident" letter yet, you probably have received the one to simply "current resident." How faceless can you be? The latest one showed four flawless young people in skimpy white to match their teeth and promised to "give you back your smile" with dentistry marked down from $600.
Or how about the mail with a form of your name you never use except to register your car? You have to be really fun-loving to find amusement in guessing which list you've been plucked from this time. Maybe a list rented from the telemarketers who call you by your first name, only it's one never uttered by anyone who knows you, let alonemispronounced.
Now Massachusetts joins about half the other states and the Federal Trade Commission in policing telemarketers. The second sign-up period for the Do Not Call Registry runs to June 1.
Just last month the federal Do-Not-Call Implementation Act became law. The Telemarketing Relief Act was reintroduced earlier this year.
Among proposed laws on unwanted e-mail, who wouldn't love the Can Spam Act? Another bill would save our cellphones from spam. Are you surprised there's controversy over how far consumers should be protected?
At the moment I'm torn between realizing that people have jobs to do and waiting for the one huge database that stops everything.
• Roderick Nordell is a former editor at the Monitor.