Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Paper Mail  §

I hate paper mail—how I hate paper mail. Is there any justification for it any longer? At least once every other month I have to dedicate what amounts to an entire afternoon confronting stacks and stacks of burgeoning envelopes from every corner of the market and government, most of it absolute nonsense yet marked with enough personal information to lead to catastrophe if not shredded.

I hate that so much of my most precious resource, time, goes to sorting through this bullshit.

I hate that so much wood, energy, and fuel is used in distributing this garbage.

I hate that we actually have to buy shredders to shred this stuff that we never asked for in the first place, and that there’s so much of it that “shredder” becomes an annual purchase as they break in succession from overuse.

I hate that little really important business is ever transacted this way. Your banking, your taxes, your bills, and your school and career logistics are now all handled online. Instead, this pile is full of “credit card personal checks” that you didn’t ask for, offers from lenders you’ve never heard of or don’t want to do business with, unimportant material from the marketing “partners” of all the actually important organizations in your life, and the last $2.42 portion of any medical bill whose other $752,442.96 was covered by your insurer.

I hate that those $2.42 bills and a few other rare items really are important, for your credit rating if for nothing else, meaning that you have to sort through every last goddamn unmarked envelope in the stack of 100+ (assuming that you receive 3-4 pieces of mail a day like I do) just to see if anything that matters came through.

I hate that those people that on those rarest of occasions do send important things through the mail invariably are stuck in the middle ages and offer no other way to do business with them than to send a letter, check, or some other form of correspondence in a “return envelope,” that most archaic of artifacts, or worse, simply requiring that you find your own envelope and stamp, which ultimately means a trip to the office supply store and post office, sucking yet another afternoon, since nobody who is even slightly plausible as an ontological possibility actually keeps such things around any longer in today’s world.

And I hate that at the end of the day I always end up with 2-3 things that are “records” that I simply don’t know what to do with. Am I meant to keep them? Will they be essential for tax purposes? Can no-one tell me? And what do I do with these paper “records” in an era of digital “files?” Scan them in? And file them where, as what? They’re not searchable, editable, or even part of any other life workflow.

The paper economy needs to die. It has already seen its last legs and worn them into nothing. It is a pox, a black mark, a cancer upon humanity.


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