Thursday, February 03, 2005

Direct-mail blog.

Oddity for the day. Every day ought to have at least one, however small. Recently I got some direct mail, asking for money for a worthy cause. “Greetings, Dees,” it begins, “I’m writing you this note on behalf of 126,006 very inspiring individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout Illinois…”

126,006? Hm. Of course, the writer means retarded people when he mentions those with “intellectual disabilities,” which is just another example of the well-known process of euphemism drift. “Simple-minded” or just “simple” went out the window long ago, replaced by the enlightened and non-offensive (for the 1920s or whenever) “retarded.” Which, as everyone knows, soon after became a schoolyard insult.

But the oddity of the precise 126,006 interests me more, because later in the text, the letter asks for money, in the amount of (your choice, check the box): $8.15, $16.29, $32.58 or Other. I guess this is to distinguish the letter from a run-of-the-mill fundraiser, and it worked. Well, it got my attention, and commentary. It did not, unfortunately, pry any money from my wallet. Money doesn’t need to be pried out of there, anyway. It’s got wings of its own.


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