Whitesburg KY
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AOL brings junk mail which brings …

Points East

I have been an AOL subscriber (laugh all you want) pretty much since it came online.

I remember sending tons of excited email to my friends back in the early days to see if they had downloaded version 2. The upgrade was, in fact, a huge improvement. Similar excitement was generated in subsequent years but after version 5 in 98, it’s been pretty much the same.

I’ve stuck with AOL email all these years mostly because I am too lazy to move my address/ contact list to another service. I have nearly 1,000 names on it and I do not have a week of spare time to make a switch nor the technical savvy to do it any quicker. AOL makes it tough to switch. And besides that, I’ve tried several other email accounts and I like what I have better than the competition.

At one point I was paying $29 a month for AOL but now I get it free since becoming the first kid on my block, if not in Garrard County, to finally get DSL. I will admit that the customer service rep was kicking and screaming when I told him that I was, indeed, going to drop AOL altogether if I didn’t get the service free. Truth be known, I’ll bet that they would pay me to keep it.

All of which is beside the point. The point being that, when I signed up for AOL I was fool enough to fill out a member profile form that, among numerous other personal things, requested my snail mail address, phone number and my birth date.

I’ve managed to avoid most spam because I use a security program that blocks it. I’ve also changed my phone number at least twice since signing up, and that, coupled with the telemarketing law has resulted in generally uninterrupted dinners at home.

But everybody in the free world still knows my date of birth and snail address. Sometimes I believe that the Paint Lick Post Office would have to lay off somebody if I moved out of town. There hasn’t been a day when mail was delivered over the last 15 years that I didn’t get some and I finally had to purchase a much larger than normal mailbox to accommodate the bulk.

They buy boxes of extrasturdy rubber bands at the P.O. to wrap around my mail so that the mailman does not have to sit by the road at my box for several minutes to sort it out and be aggravated by my dogs.

I attribute this phenomenon to my member profile on AOL because that’s the only place that I’ve ever mentioned that my nickname is “Iker”.

Apparently the average retirement age in this country is 59. That’s what I’ll be on January 5 and over the last three months I have been inundated with “Dear Iker” letters, brochures, catalogues, greeting cards and the like offering me special deals on rest homes, retirement communities, special health/life insurance for the elderly, investment advice, travel/cruise deals, vitamin supplements, sex-enhancement pills, wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, hearing aids, glasses, large print books, adult diapers, and all sorts of other stuff, too numerous to mention, for the aged and infirm.

I do need a hearing aid so I’ve been laying those missives aside but mostly I am insulted as I put this stuff in the recycle box and pity the forest and the trees from whence it ultimately originated.

But sometimes there’s a jewel among the junk.

Last week I had a very nice, hot-pink card from Victoria’s Secret addressed to Iker.

I was impressed that even Miss Vicky had checked out my AOL profile. (I figure she also has an AOL nickname and Miss Vicky seems to fit).

Since my birthday is coming up she’s sent me a birthday card giving me 10 bucks off on anything I buy at any of their stores in January. Frankly, I haven’t seen anything at Victoria’s place that I’d ever wear myself, but I figure I can wave the card around and justify taking a closer look at what women are wearing under their clothes these days.

My immediate idea was to shop around and then ask a clerk to show me the rack where they have the special, 3-for-10 bucks deals like they have at J.C. Penney’s. I figured I might be able to use the gift card before Christmas if I told them I didn’t plan to be in Lexington anytime next month and I’d like to claim my present a bit early.

I showed the card to Loretta and her eyes literally sparkled. Then I told her about my Christmas idea.

My wife rolled her eyes and shook her head.

“Honey, Honey, Honey,” is what she said. “You’re not going to get anything at Victoria’s Secret that I would wear for $10. However, this would make a good down payment on a decent pair of panties.”

So I may do just that but I won’t be retiring at 59. It sounds like I’ll have to work the entire year to finish paying off Loretta’s Christmas underwear.

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