Jim Finley

Before you say something like “Boy that Jimbo sure has a lot of time on his hands,” let me tell you that because of this idiotic coronavirus pandemic, I do indeed have a lot of time on my hands.

Thusly, we are therefore in total agreement.

But, hey, so do you. I mean, you know, you, too, have time on your hands. I wish it weren’t so.

I pre-warn you because I undertook a tedious, mind-blowing project the other day that took roughly an hour (Central Daylight Time).

It had to do with charity. Before you go forth reading this possible prize-winning column, make no mistake that I’m all for charity. Go, charity, go!

It’s true, however, that rarely does a day go by that Wife Margie and myself personally don’t get a letter from some fine organization asking us for coinage. I promise it’s almost daily. One day recently we got six such letters.

We understand. No ill will.

But they could save themselves time, money, and literally thousands of return address stickers by removing us from their collective lists because we already have a couple of charities we choose to support.

I shan’t reveal our favorites, and I certainly don’t want a Nobel Peace Prize for our gifts. No, sir, who you give to is your call.

 About that Nobel Peace Prize … uh, never mind.

Anywho, the project I undertook since I do have this mostly boring time was counting the number of return address stickers we’ve collected over who knows how long.

See, almost every one of these charities include return address stickers. Some have my name on them while others carry Wife Margie’s moniker.

This is part of their approach for a donation. Again, I understand.

In addition, sometime certain groups will include a coin. I’m not sure what that is for. Maybe to pay for part of a stamp?

I feel so guilty when I get those coins that I uptape them from their letter and put them in the collection basket at St. Joseph Catholic Church. I promise this is true.

Over time, however, we have KEPT the stickers. I hope that’s alright with The Big Guy.

We store these stickers in a holder thingamajig on our desk, and they keep piling up. As an investigative reporter, I wondered how many we had.

So I took to counting them.

Truth be told, I was never good at math. If my high school teachers were still alive – particularly a man named Perry Barkley, who taught me algebra for FOUR years – they’d all agree I needed to stay away from any profession that calls for Numbers Skills.

This is why I ended up in journalism.

I know you think I’m a nutcase, but being bored out of my skull, I began the challenge of counting the stickers. Every last one of them.

To start with, the stickers were stuck to 60 different sheets of paper.

Nonetheless, I took them out of the thingamajig and placed them on our elegant love seat. And I began my quest.

Even this, however, wasn’t a simple matter of one, two, three.

Why? Because after counting the stickers, I returned them to their thingamajig, and when I opened a desk drawer to toss in some birthday cards – cards I found among the stickers – I discovered MORE stickers inside the stupid drawer.

You kiddin’ me?

So back to the love seat I did trod.

Because I thought I was through counting, I became overwrought. Also mentally pooped.

Finally, I finished. Want to know how many stickers we had?

The final count was 1,888. I kid you not.

Now think about this. If I wrote a letter or paid a bill by mail EVERY DAY, it would take more than five years to use all those stickers. And that’s not counting all the NEW ones we’d receive during that time.


Thank you. I agree this is superlative journalism.

(NON-EDITOR’S NOTE: After I wrote this piece, we received 42 MORE address stickers. Really.)


Jim Finley is a retired managing editor of The Sun. He can be reached at viewpoints@baytownsun.com, Attention: Jim Finley.


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(1) comment


It is good to see you are occupying your time with worthwhile pursuits. Good job!

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