Once you’ve given your name and address to a magazine publisher or not-for-profit organization, you get put onto a mailing list. In the runup to our son’s birth in 1991 in Taiwan, we accepted a free sample of baby formula (just in case) in exchange for our data. After that, though we moved a couple of times, we’d receive age-appropriate mailings from companies promoting their wares for our growing child.
After retiring in the USA a couple years ago, I signed up for a health screening opportunity presented by a private company that would set up for a day in a Veterans’ Hall here or a church fellowship room there. I got several “valuable and otherwise pricey” scans at low cost and with little trouble. The printed report came in the mail a few weeks later, and I also landed on a mailing list. Now, whenever the team shows up in my own or an adjacent zipcode, I get a note or an email.
Sometime in the late 90s in Kaohsiung City I began getting an annual physical exam at different local hospitals. Other than for the physical, I wasn’t registered there, so there was no file into which to put things like X-rays. I’d go for the exam and the data would be collected. All physical records of it were given to me when I returned for the report 10 days later. At least one place presented me with a large envelope that contained my chest X-ray. What does one DO with something like that? Of course, I took it home and stuffed it on a shelf atop a closet.
Packing up in preparation to depart Taiwan two years ago, that X-ray emerged from the pile. It didn’t make the cut for transport to our retirement home in the USA. The report, cryptically included in a little booklet, is probably somewhere in the files. What I WAS 20 odd years ago, having little to do with what I have become since, and what I am now.
Would that I could see into my soul.
David Alexander muses on the incomprehensible in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.