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My dad use to have a funny hobby. He had a picture of a pigs face with the text "IT'S A REAL PIG" above. It was one of those old photo copy things people passed around the office and copied so many times the detail was long gone. It is not the photo copy itself that was his hobby, but what he did with it.

You know those Postage Paid return envelopes found so often in your junk mail? Well my dad use to take every one he found, fold up a pig and send them off. He said he thought it would give some poor person a laugh. Opening envelopes all day was a tedious job and he said he was lightening a dull day for them. I also felt there was a dark side. That dad was an anarchist trying to bring down corporate America by making them pay that postage without any actual interest in their goods or services.

One day back in 1983 I was looking for a job. With a fresh Associates Degree in my hand I attempted to enter the job market by joining a recruiting firm, Robert Half Associates, as recommended by my accountant father. The interview started by the agent opening a folder with my name on it, and drawing forth a picture of a pig.  Yes, it seems this firm had tried to contact me but my father had intercepted the junk mail and kept the only thing he felt had value, the postage paid return envelope. He was quite horrified when I got home and told him what occurred.

My father died on June 12, 2007 and my mother on January 30, 2011. My brother and I have been cleaning out our family home after losing our mother. Going through the loss of your parents is hard enough. Going through everything they kept from their lives and having to make the choice of Keep, Sell, Donate or Trash is salt in the wound that heal so slowly. While other families might cherish an heirloom or greed after an antique my brother and I were brought up a bit "different", we had more cherished items to find, memories. One was a copy of the pig from so many years ago. From the very start my brother had said he was sure somewhere in that house we would find a copy of the infamous pig. No matter how yellow and tattered he would find a copy.

May 7th, 2011. My brother comes down from the attic. Clutched in his hand was the gold he had been hoping to find.


If you would like a copy of this picture I can email you a higher resolution one. But I have to warn you, if you are an anarchist like my father planning to bring down corporate America through the misuse of Postage Paid return envelopes or for reasons other than intended by their provider please make sure it is legal first. Also, if Robert Half Associates marked their envelopes in 1983 for tracking purposes it may very well be a general practice at this point. And if anyone out there ever worked a job opening postage paid return envelopes for a company and ever found a pig, please let me know. I am sure there were many.

  
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