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As a sometime fancier of the classified ad section of the newspapers for elective light reading, I am not unacquainted with those that list vacancies. Vacancy is a beckoning word with a lot of potential topspin. There is the vacancy in the office force which might be filled by qualified applicant and vacancy in an apartment house. I’m sure you’ve seen those neon script signs outside motels where the word blinks at the weary traveler with the promise of bed and bath. But by far the most monumental vacancy to be advertised in the public prints is the vacancy in the upstate strip mines. These are huge, gaping emptinesses mocking the countryside where once strong men delivered the earth of its mineral burden. Question arises: what do we do to refill?

mailbox full of junk mail

Any nominations?

Who’s for attempting to fill the holes in the ground with junk mail? Those artfully contrived communications, addressed to occupant, which invite you to come and borrow a basketful of money with no embarrassing questions put to employer and/or neighbors. That could take care of some of the space. How about the printed copies of the aimless oratory in the halls of congress or the chancels of the UN? What would you say to some of the records performed by the “Uncles and the Aunts” or the “Four Thugs” or the “Long-tressed Lolligoggers?”

There has been talk of dispatching the thousands of abandoned cars to be compressed and dropped into the empty mines. There would be a nice propriety in that. Sort of returning the minerals to the vein that spawned them. Rust thou art to rust returnest, so to speak. And not at all far fetched. We’ve been doing just that for years at Fort Knox.

This is an open-ender. In a world in which each of us could rattle off a list of many things we’d like to unload, it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a few suggestions for what to dump into the yawning strip mines. That’s your homework for tonight.