I can't claim to own this idea. I picked it up secondhand from my sister, who told me that when her friend gets junk mail with return envelopes that say "no postage necessary if mailed in the United States," he sends it back. With stuff in it. What kind of stuff, I'm not sure. But I stole the idea -- and I send porn.
Yes, I've decided to return all junk/credit card/bogus loan-approval forms back to their respective corporations with porn attached. I should clarify: I'm using tasteful nudes. You know, pages from pre-1975 issues of Playboy when photos shoots involving naked women went for campy over creepy. And I'm using the DIY Sharpie blackout method for all nipples, because I know that in America, nipples are considered terrifying (which also, inadvertently, makes them awesome).
We use images of semi-nude women as bait/attention-grabbers for everything else in America -- selling patty melts to teenage boys, selling pop music to children, selling vodka to all kinds of inappropriately targeted demographics:
The above proves that porn is everywhere -- it's just not called porn. It's called advertising. So why not make my own advertisements using porn for the stuff I don't want? At least then I can pretend someone at Corporate Credit Card USA in Salt Lake City might actually be reading my mailed-in request for no more tree-wasting junk mail. It seems like a simple solution to a common problem.
And that brings to the table something else I'd like to be rid of -- unsolicited guilt born out of waste. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I make sure my junk mail makes it into the recycle bin. But sometimes, I like to open my mail while sitting on the john, and guess what? There's no shredder for sensitive information, nor is there a recycle bin next to my toilet. My commune isn't quite to that level of sustainability -- yet. So it goes in the regular trash. Then I stay up late at night, unable to concentrate on Ira Glass's sexy voice while catching up on This American Life podcasts because I'm too busy feeling guilty about something I didn't even ask to be sent in the first place.
I could look at this situation from a positive angle: If we all mailed back every "no postage necessary" envelope, the U.S. Postal Service would stay busy. Snail mail has been on the decline since the invention of e-mail (even though everyone knows e-mail isn't half as romantic), and the USPS is going broke because of it. We do almost everything online that we used to do by mail -- except look at Home Trends and Lillian Vernon catalogues, because that stuff is only entertaining if you can read it aloud to your family. (Seriously, the No Mess Rain Cap? You gotta see this thing in catalogue context to truly appreciate its bizarreness.)
Even porn itself is mostly perused online. If you're like me and live in a retro-fantasy world where Bunny Yeager's shots of Bettie Page, Vargas's dream girl drawings and vintage issues of Playboy are where it's at in terms of porn, you'd be advised not to Google "porn." You'll be severely bummed by what people like to look at these days; they just don't make nudie mags like they used to. But if they did, I would probably subscribe to one -- and have it sent to me by mail.