Letter to the Editor

by Regis Boff

Yesterday evening at the very start of dinner, I received a computerized phone call from a machine representing The New York Times. The almost human voice strained to conceal its evident annoyance. It wanted to know why, after twenty-three years of near flawless, door to door delivery of it’s vaulted paper words, the company was now forbidden to bill me automatically by credit card.
With my kale getting cold and impatience gobbling my stability, I explained to it we had no papers delivered to our home.
“Do you live at 102 West 75th St, Manhatten NY?” it asked knowingly. “We moved out of Manhatten twenty years ago, we live in Irvington now,” I smugly replied.
” So you wish to discontinue your deliveries in Manhatten?” it asked.
” I discontinued you two decades ago,” my shrill voice now causing my dog to whine. “We, ( it suddenly had become plural) have no record of that cancellation,” it said.
As if finally swallowing the inevitability of the situation, it asked sweetly if I, “Would like to enjoy the New York Times delivered to my Irvington home using my new credit card.”
I had forgotten to cancel after we moved here. I discovered the programmed renewal charges only because a thief in Los Angeles was illegally using my card number to buy diamond tongue studs.
I am hard tethered to several hundred of these automated agreements through my credit card that roll over with no obligation of “notice” whatsoever.
I am billed monthly, yearly, even bi-annually by a blizzard of services I have long forgotten I ever requested. Apparently I now have admittance to every form of recorded media produced by Hollywood, Netflix, and Spotify since the dawn of time. Legally severing these “access” contracts is more daunting to litigate than any prenup since it was permissible to behead the wife.
I am not famously attentive to dull detail but when crossed, I can be calculating and blistering in my vindictiveness.
To this spiteful end, I call on all my fellow citizens of Irvington to promptly report your credit cards as “lost or stolen.”
You will receive a new one, with a different number on it with deranged speed. Then just wait until hell breaks loose when these scheming computers discover they can’t get their money. An agitated robot will call you.
Just have it call me.