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At a Loss
by Vincent Barry

I am at a loss. Permit me to explain. 

I received today a special delivery from First National Mint and Trust, located on Freedom Avenue in North Canton, Ohio, informing me that my family name is inscribed on valuable silver bars. These family-named silver bars, it assures me, are “documented, authentic, and are minted of .999 pure silver”— and going like hot cakes. No wonder. Who wouldn’t want “a real nice nest egg to save,” not to mention own the world’s only known silver bars bearing my family’s name? All I have to do is call—who is it? Oh, right, FNMSBO11. Yes, call and tell FNM, “Send me a silver bar” for $184, or, alternatively, “F,—if I’m not being too personal—, send me your ‘Absolute Best!’—the thirty silver bar collection for $866.” 

I am torn, I really am. Especially, looking at the attached picture of “Mary Ellen,” “the 40th Treasurer of the United States of America, Emeritus,” whom I’d describe affectionately as a cat lady who hoardes mugs, writes:


   I’m so glad we were able to locate you. You see, the Silver Bars bearing your family name will
   always have great value, even after we are long gone. Surely, when you gift them, everyone 
   will remember your generosity. Be sure to check the Red Box to get all 30 Silver Bars arriving 
   in the Free Estate Treasury Chest—you get 5 Free Bars! But please, by all means, do not 
   miss the deadline.

May 3 is Mary Ellen’s deadline. But mine is—well, next Tuesday. That’s when Marborg comes around. Marborg? Oh, they believe in “Doing Good, Making Good,Treating Our People Well.”
They also pick up my trash, and are very particular. 

Thus, my aforesaid loss.To recycle or not to recycle? That is the question.