Since I keep getting personalized return address labels from various charities, my desk drawer is stuffed with a supply that should last me well into the 22nd century. It infuriates me to receive them and makes me even more unhinged that I can’t seem to throw them away. After all, they have my name on them with images of flowers, smiley faces, kittens, and other terribly cute depictions.  



So, now I make it a policy NOT to donate to those charities if they send me address labels. Some marketing expert should tell these folks to send something else as an incentive to soften the hearts of potential donors.  



Or maybe, it’s just me.  



It’s the little stuff like the address labels that threaten my precarious hold on sanity. 



For example, last week I mailed a gift anonymously, so I didn’t provide a return address. Two days later, I happened to look at my post office receipt and realized the package had been mistakenly sent to Hurlburt Field (zip code 32544) instead of the intended Destin address. Now it’s in a “dead mail” bin somewhere with no way to return it to me. That little snafu keeps me awake at night thinking about what a stupid idea that was.



 Then, a few days later, I received a birthday card in the mail. It bore no return address and no message or name inside. Instead, the sender had tucked a twenty dollar bill in the card. Thank you, sincerely, dear anonymous soul, but my birthday was three months ago. And, now, I’m driving myself nuts trying to figure out who you are. I guess that’s karma for the anonymous gift stunt I did.



Another adventure into the crazy zone came when I tried to buy dog food manufactured in the United States. It’s harder than you’d think. I have no personal prejudices against China, but I’m still remembering the toxic pet food incident of a few years ago.  I checked package after package in several stores, looking for “Made in the USA.”  Then a veterinarian tells me that for any product to be labeled “Made in the USA,” regulations require only that the product be “all or virtually all” made in that country. Nowhere do labeling rules mandate the origin of individual components that were used to make a product. So, even though a company reports they manufacture a dog food completely in a U.S. plant, there’s no way to assure a consumer the ingredients weren’t out-sourced from a foreign producer.



And speaking of out-sourcing, I try to embrace all cultures and nationalities as fellow sojourners on this planet, but if I can’t understand the computer tech person from Pakistan, I become frustrated and seldom get the practical help I was seeking. It’s like the popular joke, “Why should I have to press 1 for English when I’m going to be transferred to someone I can’t understand anyway?”  



Instead of fretting over what happened to the missing sock (when I knew two socks went into the dryer but only one came out), I should be more concerned about global climate change, destruction of natural habitats, gun violence, animal cruelty, illegal immigration, nuclear proliferation, ObamaCare, GMO food from Monsanto which was voted “Most Evil Corporation” in 2013, and a plethora of other political and social nightmares.



But these issues have already driven me out of my mind.  So, I have no worry beads left to devote to Crimea or what happened to Flight 370.



I’ve let the little things like impregnable price stickers on the glass of a picture frame (soak, scrape, apply the Goo-Gone) and other people’s bad grammar drive me crazier.



When I handed the keys over to the small stuff, it became a short drive from crazy to crazier.



Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. Her columns are published on Saturdays.