Sunday, July 5, 2015

Annoying People are Creeping Me Out

So, a while back I got a letter in the mail asking if, as a veteran, I'd like to be cremated and buried at sea.

My response to this, and the three follow-up messages I've received (so far) from the same folks is to feel as if I'd suddenly found myself in an old Monty Python skit, the one where a man (Terry Jones) is sitting minding his own business when the person sitting next to him (Eric Idle) starts asking him all sorts of annoying and increasingly inappropriately personal.

Them: Hey there. Would you like to be cremated and buried at sea?

Me: Excuse me?

Them: What with you being a veteran and all. Of the navy.

Me: Do I know you?

Them: It's a great offer. Save your loved ones a lot of bother and expense.

Me: Go. Away.

--except they won't. They've ignored Janice, who called them and told them to stop. I thought I'd sent them an email message telling them to stop; have to resend that.  I suppose the next stage is a letter to desist.

The odd thing is, I not only not a veteran, but (in the words of Gilbert & Sullivan), I've never been one. After all, there aren't many conscientious objectors who are also veterans, and precious few pacifist in the V.F.W.

After we puzzled over it some, Janice hit on what is probably the right solution: somehow they've gotten ahold of some reference to my father (John Dale Rateliff Sr) and put it together with my address. My father was a veteran, of the Korean War. And since that was before I was born (John Dale Rateliff Jr), being years before my parents met, at that time he of course didn't use the 'Sr'. Even so, he was never in the Navy,* having been a radio operator in the Army instead.** Plus he hated the army, all that being ordered about, and in latter years rarely told war stories and avoided showy displays of patriotism, figuring that he'd done enough (as the saying goes, having walked the walk he felt no need to talk the talk).

Which makes me annoyed all over again, knowing how much he'd have hated these 'Neptune Society' folks as well for their attempts to cash in on elderly vets.

For my part, I've discovered that it's really disconcerting to have people eager for you to die who contact you on a regular basis to convey that wish.

There must be some way to make these vultures go away.

--John R.
current reading: THE FIGURE OF ARTHUR by Ch. Wms (his half of ARTHURIAN TORSO; a re-reading), while walking cats.

*it's just possible they have him confused with my uncle J. W., who was in the navy (in the Pacific) in WWII; the family legend goes that when he signed up they asked him what the initals 'JW' stood for and he told them they didn't stand for anything: that was his name (which it was). The army recruiters apparently weren't having any of that and insisted he pick a name to stand for each initial, so he opted for 'John Wesley', this being the name of his father (my grandfather, John Rateliff II; I'm John Rateliff IV if you ignore the middle initials). If so, they're overlooking the fact that, like my father, he's been dead for years and has no need of their services.

**he said he chose radio operator because you didn't have to shoot at people, although they got to shoot at you. That seemed fair to him, and it does to me too.

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