I stopped to get the mail on my way home from work yesterday. It's one of my jobs, and I take great pride in it. It used to be my wife's job. She doesn't do it any more, because she doesn't like to walk the dogs to that part of the neighborhood because some of the folks down by the mailboxes have dogs, and then our dogs see their dogs and this almost always results in a dog squabble of some sort, and...
Oh. The mail. Right.
I opened up the mailbox, and there among the usual assortment of bills and magazines and newspaper advertising supplements, which drive me nuts because they always fall apart when a gust of wind catches them and then you have ads for Sentry and Safeway and Roundy's and Superfresh blowing around the neighborhood and everyone wonders what the hell's wrong with Schmalfeldt that he can't get the goddamned mail into his car without littering the entire neighborhood with his...
Oh. Yeah. OK.
Anyway, in the mail was a letter from some company calling itself "Cambridge Who's Who."
When I got back to the car (after chasing down all the newspaper ads that the wind grabbed) I opened the envelope and lo and behold...
I HAD BEEN PERSONALLY SELECTED TO REPRESENT MY TOWN IN THE LATEST EDITION OF THE CAMBRIDGE WHO'S WHO!!!
Well, how about that! Me! My mother's oldest surviving son! FINALLY getting some much-deserved recognition after all these years of toil and labor and struggle and occasionally working five full days a week!
Well, I could hardly wait to get home to share the news with my wife and stepson. I mean, it wasn't like I had just been nominated for a Nobel Prize or anything like that, but this was the WHO's WHO!!! I was being RECOGNIZED! I was going to represent ELKRIDGE, MARYLAND!!!
Oddly enough, when I broke the news to Gail, she was somehow less than impressed. She had questions.
"How do they know you are a professional or executive?"
I didn't have an answer. "They must have heard of me SOME how," I said, waving the envelope in her disbelieving face. "They SELECTED me."
"Is that a bulk rate stamp on the envelope?" she asked, taking it away from me.
"So? Maybe there was a group mailing to other noteworthy executives and professionals..."
That's when my stepson, TJ, joined the discussion. (Gail couldn't afford a whole name when TJ was born, so the poor kid had to settle for initials.)
"I heard about something like that," he said. "They send you a letter and you write back, and they send you a book filled with the names of other dumbasses who have to pay something like $250 per book."
I told TJ that he was far too cynical for a 27-year old.
"Just think," I said. "When you brag about me to your friends (which I assume he MUST do from time to time), you can say 'My Dad is in the Who's Who.'"
"You don't know who you are?" he asked. "You need to see it in a book?"
"Have you been smoking?" I asked.
"No," he said, waving a plume of smoke away from his face.
I stalked to my laptop and logged on. I entered "Cambridge Who's Who" into the Google and hit "enter."
Then I put the letter into the recycle bin and made my family promise to never, ever mention it to me again.
I'm going to talk to the property owners and ask why there can't be a big recyclable bin RIGHT THERE by the friggin' MAILBOXES!
Causes Bill Schmalfeldt Supports
Parkinson's Disease Research
National Parkinson's Foundation
The Michael J. Fox Foundation