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16 March 2005

Sweet, small revenge

Some people make a game out of getting even with the smaller, most annoying facets of modern life.

I take all the ads that get put into my bills and put them in the
return envelopes so that the companies can experience the same joy of
trying to figure out what’s relevant and what’s garbage.

Some people take it really far.

Wesley A. Williams spent more than a year exacting his revenge
against junk mailers. When signing up for a no-junk-mail list failed to
stem the flow, he resorted to writing at the top of each unwanted item:
“Not at this address. Return to sender.” But the mail kept coming
because the envelopes had “or current resident” on them, obligating
mail carriers to deliver it, he said.

Next, he began stuffing
the mail back into the “business reply” envelope and sending it back so
that the mailer would have to pay the postage. “That wasn’t exacting a
heavy enough cost from them for bothering me,” said Mr. Williams, 35, a
middle school science teacher who lives in Melrose, N.Y., near Albany.

checking with a postal clerk about the legality of stepping up his
efforts, he began cutting up magazines, heavy bond paper, and small
strips of sheet metal and stuffing them into the business reply
envelopes that came with the junk packages.

“You wouldn’t
believe how heavy I got some of these envelopes to weigh,” said Mr.
Williams, who added that he saw an immediate drop in the amount of
arriving junk mail. A spokesman for the United States Postal Service,
Gerald McKiernan, said that Mr. Williams’s actions sounded legal, as
long as the envelope was properly sealed.

I have nothing but admiration for this man.

What do you do?

Posted in Day2Day on 16 March 2005 at 10:22 pm by Nate

Not the easiest time

The continuing conversation about l’affaire Harvard dominates around here.  We even discussed it over dinner at the monastery last night.

The president of the university, Larry Summers, has described the last
two months as among some of the hardest of his professional life. 
And yesterday was probably one of his hardest days yet….

This coming from a man who dealt with world leaders and helped to manage the world economy.

We academics are not an easy people to work with.  ‘Course, from
everything I hear from faculty, neither is the university president.

Posted in IvoryTower on 16 March 2005 at 10:16 pm by Nate