MR WRONG: Working the mailbox

Indignity Vol. 4, No. 92

MR WRONG: Working the mailbox


MR WRONG: Letters Make the Column

AT THE END of every iteration of the Emotional and Educational Rollercoaster that is the Mr. Wrong column, when I remember to, and if I’m not too tired from typing, I let you, the Gentle Reader, know that my portals of communication are open 24/7, 365, via my Electronic Mail address:

I have been busy this week, enjoying life and stuff, so I am turning it over to the Readers, and while I thank anyone who reads the pixels of Indignity, and deeper still, the Mr. Wrong column, I have extra-special thanks for anyone who corresponds, and an extra-extra dumptruck-load of Big Thanks Energy for the Readers who not only Correspond, but also find it in their hearts and digital wallets to support Indignity with their cash-money. Thank you!

This first email is for a column that’s from way back, but thanks to Scrooge Romney and Scrooge Manchin, it’s as timely as today’s headlines! Those two Scrooges are calling their brainstorm, to force federal employees into the office, the “Back to Work Act,” like nobody’s working if they’re working at home. Scrooges! 

About that Bloomberg piece in the Post yesterday.

Specifically the bit that says: "Some people argue that remote work for federal employees isn’t a problem. Tell that to the taxpayers who are footing the bill for empty floor space and the costs of maintenance, as the GAO emphasizes."

Which seems to be a fairly obvious statement that Mike Bloomberg does not understand the sunk cost fallacy.

(My employer has shifted to fully remote, despite having moved into a brand-new custom-built five-story office building in April 2019.  We still have two floors for meeting rooms and the small number of people who want to work on-site, but we're trying to sublet the top three floors.)


This next one is from when  I was complaining about the cupholder in my 2000 Honda Civic:

Try looking up car bed—there’s a product designed to turn the backseat of a sedan into a bed.  Which is both intelligent and crushingly depressing.  I went down this rabbit hole myself a while back. Old cars are the best for a variety of reasons but have their annoyances.  Best to you, friend! Hoping neither of us ever need the missing social safety net. 


I looked it up, Holly, and yeah, there’s a buncha beds for the back seats of cars!

This next one is also car-related, in response to a Mr. Wrong column containing a picture of my Toyota Van and the quotable

If I ever get a new car with a back-cam I’ll probably wanna back up all the time, I’ll drive my car backwards and stuff, I guess. 

Inspired this correspondence:

I recently rented a car with a backup camera.  This was my first exposure to the technology (I know, welcome to the year 2011, Mr. Van Winkle).  In any case, to me it was just some flashy video thingy on the dashboard that I fully tuned out, as if the carmaker had decided to insert a scale model of the Vegas Strip in the FM radio controls, and I was at risk for having a seizure if I looked at it too closely.

So there I am, in my high-tech rental sedan, executing a difficult backup maneuver, whereupon I roll down the window and crane my head out towards the back of the car in order to mentally calibrate the mirror’s relationship to the rear wheels.  At which point, my children in the back seat start writhing in agony while loudly exploring their legal options for disowning me.

And that’s how I learned to love the backup camera.

PS.  I have a driving resume that is similar to yours, in an impressionistic way.  I also was formerly deeply opposed to self-driving cars.  However, like you, I had an epiphany and decided to embrace our vehicular overlords; not simply to induce everyone to honor the speed limit, but to ensure that everyone all drives in a competent, purposeful, and predictable manner.  Oh, the joy, of accelerating away from a traffic signal in unison like a marching band of ducklings.  And imagine the drivers’ paradise whereby every vehicle not simply avoids exceeding the speed limit, but they actually achieve the accomplishment of reaching, and holding it.

PPS.  Would the [Toyota Van] crumple like a beer can, or peel back like a tin of sardines? Let’s not find out.

Thanks for the chuckle.


In closing, and to complete the circle, here is a missive about my closing:

"Write Wrong" reminds me that my good family friends decided not to hyphenate their surnames when naming their first child because one of the two options would be "Wang-Rea." And thank goodness, considering what the child's given name is! 


OK, again, thank you for reading Mr. Wrong here on Indignity. I urge you to correspond, so I can fill a column every once in a while!

The MR. WRONG COLUMN is a general-interest column appearing weekly. No refunds. Write Wrong:  

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A tall poofy cloud against a blue sky

New York City, May 29, 2024

★★★★ The cat crouched on the air conditioner, in the fresh morning air, glaring up and out the window screen at a mourning dove on the rail a floor above. Sun came down clear and sharp; the metal on the balcony was hot to the touch through the wet wipe clearing away the baked bird droppings. Puffy clouds came to cut the heat. In the shade of the dogwood canopy, in a junction of upthrust branches, a female cardinal hunkered down on her nest, red crest folded down flat. The ants on the balcony were seeping under the door into the bedroom, scampering on the baseboard heater to be crushed by twos and threes with a paper towel. A neighbor came home with a can of Raid; the super said the weather was bringing them out and that the exterminator would be by next week. The sky showed off one prodigy of clouds after another: glowing white, immaculate gray, hooks and piles and branches. It seemed impossible that anything could disturb the calm, but at sundown the radar showed a blob of showers encircling the city. Around 9, wind coming out of the dark cut all the way across the bedroom and rain began falling. The sky above the balcony flickered with lightning. Ants were swarming the most elevated of the four new ant baits.

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CLICK ON THIS box to enjoy today's Indignity Morning Podcast:

Indignity Morning Podcast No. 284: Hot Supreme Court scandal.
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WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS in aid of the assembly of a sandwich (serve before the soup) selected from Mrs. Ericsson Hammond's Salad Appetizer Cook Book, by Maria Matilda Ericsson Hammond. Published in 1924, and now in the Public Domain and available at for the delectation of all.

Caviar en Celeri a la Melba
For Six Persons

Secure nice white celery, put it in ice-water to become crisp, cut it from the root and remove the outside stalks. Cut four pieces for each sandwich about an inch and a half in length, scrape them and put them back in the ice-water again until ready to use, also put the heart of the celery in the ice-water. Cut round pieces of bread with a large biscuit cutter and spread with butter. Put the four pieces of celery on the bread meeting in the center to form a rose with the hollow part up; fill it with the caviar, about a small half teaspoon in each, and in the center put also a little caviar. Decorate in between each stalk with a strip of butter that has been colored with orange coloring and in between each piece of celery put a leaf made with butter and colored with spinach, and on top of the caviar decorate with the stirred butter through a very small paper tube forming a net. Arrange in the form of a ring on a platter with parsley in the center and all around arrange the heart of the celery. Serve as a hors-d’oeuvre. The rest of the celery can be used for creaming or with the soup.

If you decide to prepare and attempt to enjoy a sandwich inspired by this offering, be sure to send a picture to 

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Supplies are really and truly running low of the second printing of 19 FOLK TALES, still available for gift-giving and personal perusal! Sit in the gathering heat with a breezy collection of stories, each of which is concise enough to read before the thunderstorms start.

HMM WEEKLY MINI-ZINE, Subject: GAME SHOW, Joe MacLeod’s account of his Total Experience of a Journey Into Television, expanded from the original published account found here at Hmm DailyThe special MINI ZINE features other viewpoints related to an appearance on, at, and inside the teevee game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, available for purchase at SHOPULA.

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