A census confession
Posted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 8:01 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
The shelves in our home are filled with books about overcoming messiness and living a clutter-free existence. It makes sense. I mean, if you want to borrow a great diet book, ask a fat person, right? If you want to borrow a book on organization, well, ask me. Of course, you can also ask me for the diet book. I’m a plethora of information on personal weaknesses.
One of my favorite organizational tips is: Only touch mail once. In other words, the organizational gurus expect us to go to the mailbox, walk into the house and “process” every bit of the mail right then and there. On the spot. That electric bill is to go into the “unpaid bills” file before it ever leaves your hot little hand. That colorful glossy postcard telling you to buy a salad spinner is to be put into the trash immediately before you set it down on the counter. If you don’t throw it away immediately, a few days later you may come to believe that a salad spinner will solve all your problems in life. I know what you’re thinkin’. What about that letter written on faded pink paper with the little blue lines from Aunt Bessie Lou Hobbs in Toledo who owns seven pit bulls and makes the best bran muffins? I know. You think you’ve stumped me, right? Wrong. You have permission to read Aunt Bessie Lou’s letter while you’re standing in the kitchen and then you’re to immediately put the pink envelope in the basket by your big green recliner. This is the basket for mail you’re supposed to answer later. OK. Everybody on board with the system now? Yeah. I wish I were. Y’see, I UNDERSTAND the system. I just don’t FOLLOW the system. Hence, this census confession.
I don’t know how many millions of dollars have been spent trying to convince us to fill out our census forms and mail them in. I know that national TV commercials have been plentiful. There was even a ridiculously expensive census ad during the Super Bowl. We got a reminder letter that it was coming, a reminder postcard that it had come and reminders through every form of media imaginable that our area was depending on us. Only one little problem. None of these ads addressed the REAL problem with filling out the census forms. It’s not lack of desire. It’s the kitchen counter. Pure and simple.
I try to be a responsible citizen. I vote, pay taxes and answer Aunt Bessie Lou’s letter within a reasonable amount of time (depending on your definition of “reasonable amount of time”). When the census form first arrived, however, it got stuck on the kitchen counter between the Woman’s Day magazine and the salad spinner ad. It stayed there three days. OK, four days. I eventually filled it out and placed it back on that magnetic kitchen counter for its second term. This time it landed on TOP of the Woman’s Day magazine which gave it a fighting chance. The salad spinner ad had now moved under the school fundraiser catalog. And by the time a piece of mail ends up under the fundraiser catalog, the fat lady has sung.
Don’t worry. I eventually sent our census form back ... approximately seven days after receiving it. We’ve been counted. Our salad, however, remains happily un-spun. We’re learning to live with that.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her Web site lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.7.10
Lisa Smartt, The Smartt View