Junk Mail Beyond the Pale - Breathing Space Blog
This story in Newsweek, “Dear Junk Mailers: Leave My Son Alone,” speaks volumes about the junk mail industry in our society. Thirteen years after the death of a seven year old boy, advertisers still target him with offers of tuxedos and snack cakes. Repulsive and sad.
Parent Gary Wiener, writing in Newsweek: “When his 18th birthday arrived, my son, Jacob, became awfully popular. The U.S. Navy wanted him. "Before you find your place in the world, maybe you should see it first," it urged. A local menswear shop offered him 50 percent off a tuxedo package for high-school graduation. And a razor company sent him a free razor, hoping, I suppose, to make a lifelong customer out of him. Their only miscalculation was that Jacob didn't shave. Nor was it likely that any of the armed forces would gain Jacob's services. And he certainly wouldn't graduate from high school. Jacob, you see, died in 1993. He was only 7 years old when a cancerous brain tumor stole him from us.”
“As much as we loved Jacob, that period of our lives is still incredibly painful to remember. Yet, years after his death, letters addressed to Jacob find their way into our mailbox. Early on, I was driven almost to tears by these inducements for our son to attend a ritzy local private school or to sample a particular snack cake. I knew my wife would be devastated by such mail, and I tried to get to the mailbox first so that she would never be affronted by envelopes addressed to her dead first child. Much later, I realized she had been doing the same thing, hastily throwing out mail addressed to Jake so I wouldn't have to endure the epistolary abuse.”