Thursday, June 19, 2008

We Get Mail

Today, we got a big old package in the mail. I'm talking 9 by 12 bubble-wrap-interior white envelope, gotta weigh a good fraction of a pound. So I'm thinking this thing is important to one of our cases, I just can't think which one. The return address lists no recipient, just a street address in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Maybe it's a surprise mailing from Cormack McCarthy, an advance copy of his latest book, Look Ma! I Wrote A Blood-Drenched Thriller About the Unbearable Burden of Being a Manly Man! But why would he send one to me? And surely that would weigh as much as any of the guns the anti-heroes inside it use!

So, full of curiosity enough to kill all three cats I'm supposed to be feeding this evening, assuming they bother to show up, I get my trusty letter razor out and open this sucker.

A packet of M&Ms falls out. Plain. Or rather, "Milk Chocolate," because "Plain" tested poorly. There's at least two dozen pages inside, some of them legal-sized. Turns out to be a come-on letter from a real estate business in Sevierville. I bet they sent something to David because one of our clients deeded him some property in Sevier County in lieu of that other thing. They included the M&Ms in the package because they thought we'd just throw it away if they didn't have something that would capture our attention.

Like some people head up their blog posts with SEX!! just to grab your attention, I guess they wanted to do the next best thing, and seeing as it is a truth universally acknowledged that people will misconstrue the content of your letter if your cover sheet prominently features A Certain Word, they went with another bribe: Chocolate, as is also universally acknowledged, is supposed to stimulate the same parts of your brain as any orgasm will tickle. The writers of the letter hope thereby to entice us to read what they have to say, rather than consigning it to the trash bin of history with an apathetic shrug.

It is very easy, in this day and age, to just trash something with little more than a cursory glance. Take, for instance, a letter we got yesterday. The envelope was not so ostentatious, in fact it was rather unassuming, but it concealed contents sure to start any conversation. Thomson West, which is a legal publisher, was pushing its latest publication, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, by Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner. The only thing that forestalled its appointment with the circular file was my anticipation of David's reaction when I told him Thomson West wanted him to supplement Tony Scalia's income. I had to wait until the next time I called him, which wasn't long. David chuckled and questioned Thomson West's collective sanity. So, that little interaction complete, the stay on the letter's fate was lifted, and into the pit it went. Perhaps I should have staged it better, with a dramatic one-liner as I held it over the bin and let go, but all I could manage was a rather flat "meh."

What was that? What did the other letter say? The one from the realtor? I don't know, I don't like plain M&Ms.

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