There was mail for my Dad in my mailbox today.  One was a solicitation from a Cortland hearing aid business -- why is it that 90% of the hearing aid businesses are in Cortland?  (Eh, what, I didn't hear you...).  Another, addressed to Joseph H. Veaner, proclaimed, "Joseph's world gets $500" with a little tiny asterisk, that would lead Joseph to read, if he could see type that small, that he would have to open a qualifying Key Bank account in order for the $500 to come into his world.

Par for the course, right?  Junk mail. We all get it.  The only problem is that my Dad passed away a couple of years ago, and every time I get something addressed to him I feel very sad.  It's worse when the junker's (that's Key Bank in this particular case) computers try to personalize the junkee's (no, my Dad wasn't a drug addict, but he received a lot of junk mail in his time!) 'experience' with happy little phrases like 'Joseph's world', which, at the moment I am certain is called Heaven.  Not to mention that my Dad didn't have a middle name.  So I have to conclude that the 'H' was a karma thing, the initial of the place where junk mailers will go after they die.  

And by the way, there is no junk mail or email spam in Heaven.  I am just as certain of that.  "Big discounts on harps and horns, Joseph, for every cloud you buy!"  "White Friday Sale!  (Yeah, it's not going to be black in Heaven.)  "Subscribe to the recipe of the month club, Joseph, and bake your own heavenly delights like angle food cake..."

This is the snail-mail equivalent of those ads that follow you everywhere you go on the Internet.  You know the ones. 

Many years ago we lost a child half way through the pregnancy.  Had he lived he would have been named Sam.  Not long after that some company mis-typed my name Dan in their junk mailing database, replacing the D with an S... After suffering a large number of mailings addressed to my literally dead baby I called the company and told them in no uncertain terms to take Sam off the list.  They told me it might take up to six weeks.  After a time they finally stopped.

Here's the thing.  Our consumer society has no good way to deal with death.  When my cousin became a widow at a quite young age, she went through Hell trying to get companies to put her accounts in her name.  One even told her they couldn't change the name on the account unless the account holder, her dead husband, instructed them to.  My cousin is not a person to trifle with, but she had to deal with these corporate jerks on top of losing the love of her life.

One of the problems with getting your deceased loved ones' name taken off lists is that contacting a company confirms that they have the right address.  This is especially true in the Internet world.  Replying to a spam email invites the spammer to redouble his or her efforts to fill up your mailbox and make big bucks selling your email address to other spammers who, in turn sell your address...  oh you get the picture.

There are actually apps for reducing the amount of junk mail you get in your physical mailbox, kind of the real world equivalent of spam filters.  But with all our technology and the increasing trend of devices and computers being capable of talking to one another, there should be just one place online where you can put in your name and address and with a click of the 'STOP!!!' button make all mailings -- whether they be paper or digital -- stop.

Processing the death of a person you were close to is hard enough without all the self-serving spammy solicitations that remind us that we'll never see that person again.