Monday, October 6, 2008

The politics of address labels

I got a letter from the IRS on Friday telling me I owe them a lot of money. I do not owe them this money, but I now have to prove to them I do not owe them a lot of money. As I was addressing the envelope to mail in the forms today, I reached into my drawer of address labels. I do not buy return address labels. I donated to one charity group and now I will have address labels for life. You can tell how much I like you by which charity's label ends up on my correspondence with you. Bills get ugly address labels. Causes I believe in go on letters to loved ones.

My problem arose with labeling the envelope for the IRS. Because I donated to an environmental group, most of my labels support nature and birds and trees, and other "hippie" causes like that. I did not want to antagonize the faceless hardhearted IRS bureaucrat* who would open my letter pleading for clemency, so I searched and searched for the appropriate tone to strike on my letter. And then I found it. Oh Audobon Society, thank you for putting the majestic bald eagle on one of your address labels. See, I'm a proud American! My envelope proclaims it.

Or maybe I should just lay off the cold meds.

*I teach the bureaucracy in my 101 class, and know this is not true. But written here for dramatic effect. And because I am on cold meds.


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