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A FEW MONTHS AGO, George Trainer published an article of mine in The Empire entitled “The Busy Signal.” The piece discussed my personal vendetta with telephone solicitors.

Nothing I have ever written elicited so much response. I have no delusions about my writing ability so I guess it must have been the subject. Have you ever met anyone who likes to be bothered by a telephone solicitor?

By far the most interesting letter I received was one from Emmett Kirby of Champaign, Illinois who has been waging war for some time with life’s various irritants. I don’t recall seeing any articles by Emmett in the bundle, but if his letter (about 1,200 words long) is any indication, he has writing ability and some interesting stories to tell.

Included in Kirby’s list of opponents is the misleading television or radio commercial and he cites Ozark Airlines, Sears & Roebuck (Diehard Battery commercial) and Remington Electric Shavers as three of the most flagrant examples. He wrote to all three companies and to the Federal Trade Commission to protest what he felt was essentially a dishonest advertising message.

“I define American technology as something when given enough time and money for research, could catch up with the extravagant claims of commercials,” snorts Emmett.

Junk mail is another bugaboo with Emmett and I don’t blame him. I think the postal deficit could be reduced significantly if they stopped delivering mail to Mr. & Mrs. Occupant.

Most of the direct mail ads Mr. Kirby receives are returned to the senders in their own business reply envelopes marked “Not Interested.” If he is sufficiently provoked by a persistent mail advertiser, he goes to the post office and has his name removed from the offending company’s mailing list by declaring the ad is obscene.

“You see, I can declare anything obscene,” said Kirby, “even a church advertisement or appeal.”

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Kirby has also crossed swords with Bell Telephone (overcharge), the American Legion (telephone soliciting), the local police department (illegal parkers), and everybody’s favorite opponent… the U.S. Postal Service.

Dismayed for years by generally poor mail service, Kirby was galvanized into action when his name was listed among those whose income tax refund checks were returned because they had moved… although he was still living in the same house from which he filed his return!

After a long bout with the Internal Revenue Service, and an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with a postal inspector, Emmett finally got his refund check and his mail service improved… for a little while. When his mail service gradually worsened again, Kirby inflicted a diabolically clever punishment on the offending carrier.

“My silent protest has been most effective,” writes Emmett. “I merely take a misdelivered letter, and, using a pen so it can’t be erased, write, ‘Not at 710 S. Prairie St., please try delivering to the address given on the envelope. /s/ Emmett Kirby.’”

The correct addressee then knows why his mail was late and might even complain to the local postmaster. At any rate, Kirby reports that the quality of mail service in his neighborhood has taken a significant turn for the better.

It seems to me that NAPA members are blessed with a vigorous ombudsman and maybe we should take advantage of Emmett Kirby’s distinctive talents.

Was your bundle late? Don’t you like the offset NA? Doesn’t President Warner answer your letters? Didn’t the Secretary-Treasurer remind you that your dues were overdue?

I urge you to notify Emmett Kirby and see if he can’t shake up those rascals in the NAPA city hall.

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Flimsie Excuse is published and printed by one Fred Liddle of Tampa, FL 33606. It is distributed to members of the NAPA.

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