Yes! There is Junk Mail.

My kids have recently been collecting any free booklet that they can get their hands on.  Leaving the grocery store, gas stations, or church, they will find any sort of booklet, pamphlet or map to take with them.  This has become a bit of an epidemic in our house.  And whose idea was it to place those electronic coupon dispensers in grocery aisles?  All I know is that my 4-year-old son has pretty much cleaned them out on our weekly visits.  Then as we leave the store he ends up with a couple more tourism maps, you know the same one he gets every time.  I watch in amazement as he proceeds to read it the entire way home like he has received some brand new periodical about his favorite hobby.

This quirky habit has escalated over time to include junk mail.  Every day around lunch time he will anxiously wait for the mail to come.  He is the opposite of most people because he doesn’t care about any personal correspondence, all he wants is the junk mail.  “Is there junk?”, is his daily question he asks with anticipation.  He gladly opens the credit card offers, reads the catalogs and sometimes even fills out the applications and places them in the envelopes.   Then, to make it seem even more weird, he will often take his new-found items to bed.  Every week, my wife and I are quietly throwing his extra papers away.

One day, while leaving the grocery store, there was a man who I noticed taking interest in the enthusiasm that my son had in picking up his tourism books.  As we left the store, he followed us in the same direction as our van.  Well, as it turns out he is the man who places these booklets in the stores and he just so happened to be parked next to us.  My son proceeded to energetically show him his new-found item and the man was, thankfully, amused.  This man’s only comment was, “put it somewhere where someone will notice it.”  Sorry booklet man, they have all been recycled.

He also really likes folded papers.  So, don’t be surprised if he randomly comes up to you and says, “can you fold this.”  Now, if you just fold it in half, he will give it back to you in disgust.  He wants you to fold it into some fun shape.  I don’t know why he keeps asking me because I just fold it into a triangle every time.

A favorite time of year for my son, is when we take our road trip to visit family in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  The trip is enjoyable because every single stop we take has an area with free maps and guide books.  So, with every restroom break comes with it an arm full of interesting guide books.  Last year we ate a restaurant in Albany and they had some local baseball team’s schedule there.  He was so excited about it that when it got ripped the next day by his brother, he was devastated.  Even though we were hundreds of miles away, he wanted me to turn around and get another one.  Thankfully, on the return trip we were able to stop and get him a new one.

I know I am not the only one with interesting children.  Do you have anything interesting that you or your children have collected?   Of course the bigger question is, what should we make of this?   Will he be an engineer?  Will he write books or create tourist hot spot maps?  Or, maybe, he will just be the person that drives the vendors crazy when they realize their maps are gone, but no one is coming to their business.

As long as people send us junk mail, he will be happy.  In turn, we enjoy the free entertainment that comes with his quirky behaviors and just hope that it doesn’t lead to any worse collections.

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