Anything addressed to me seemed more important. Or at least personalized.
And so I filled out any pre-paid postcard I found that would send something free in return. Each day mailman arrived with Burpee seed catalogs, Columbia and RCA record clubs with gag names like (Jacques Strapp, Seymour Hiney, I.P. Daly), and brochures for travel bureaus. I sent away for The Consumer Information Catalog, checked from a list of publications—the government had to mail them to your home, I thought, it was the law—and couple weeks later, a bulging envelope from Pueblo, Colorado would arrive with “Tips for Successful Interstate Moves” (DOT, 620pp, Free) and “Women and Retirement Plans” (DOL, 587pp, Free) would arrive, too big for the mailbox. Whoever worked at the FCIC in 1979 must have thought that the Daniel Nester in New Jersey who sent for “A Volunteer’s Guide to Food Safety” (40pp, FDA, Free) and “Loss of Bladder Control” (2pp, FDA, Free) was not a ten-year-old boy, but some loony retiree or hermit.