Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Too many dates to remember

I used to think that my dentist's habit of calling me the day before to confirm an appointment was a lot of extra work, but now I appreciate it.

The older I get the more grandchildren I gather and I absolutely love each and every one of them, but the older I get the less reliable my memory becomes, and you cram 8 different birth dates into an old brain and something has to fall out. I write things down, I make lists, and I still forget, I don't totally forget of course, mainly I mix up the dates or forget to mail the card on time. Or I get the day wrong and the month right, or vice versa.

So, I have come up with an idea. Borrowed loosely from my hair stylist who, when I visit her in December, gets out her new appointment book for the following year and sets my appointments, every five weeks, for the next 12 months. Of course, I then have to plug these into my calendar or the exercise is futile.

Thank goodness for Facebook, I can now wish Happy Birthday to nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends in a timely manner, without resorting to cards and stamps and USPS. But, for the children and grandchildren in my life, more is necessary and I think I have it figured out.

At the end of each year I am going to buy every birthday card I need for the coming year, then I am going to address them and put them in a file - I can't stamp them as the cost of stamps changes as frequently as the phases of the moon, but at least I will have them ready to stamp and send. And, yes, I know that there is a risk of address changes before the allotted date, but if this happens I will over label them. And thank goodness also, for Google, I will set reminders in my google calendar to get those cards out of the file and into the mail in good time.

All this reminded me of an advertisement I once saw for a business which undertook, for a price, to continue to send greeting cards to specified recipients after death, that is you, the person who expects to be dead (and you know you will be sometime) pays in advance for a company to send greeting cards to nominated unfortunates for as long as you are prepared to pay in advance. You actually signed the cards and they did the rest, allegedly.

Of course, there were a number of major flaws in the premise and, as I can no longer find any reference to this company, one has to assume they are no longer in business, so I guess those who paid have been cheated out of their service. The main flaw being that you would have no recourse if the cards were never send. Being dead precludes you from taking any sort of action, legal or otherwise against anyone breaking a contract of any sort (of course it also means you would be unaware of the default, in fact unaware of everything). It was also not apparent how the company could be aware of your demise and their subsequent responsibility.

Possibly even more detrimental to the business idea is the effect on someone receiving a greeting card from the grave, even once, but every year would, in my opinion, make birthdays a time to dread even more and probably encourage me to move - and there is another problem, no one is going to send a change of address to have these creepy cards redirected, even if they wanted to, they wouldn't know how to.

Small wonder that business model didn't survive. But I do wonder how much money they made before people realized there was absolutely no reason to believe they would fulfill their side of the deal.