Two hundred and thirty two years ago someone who was sitting right where you are sitting this very instant got a bill in the mail. The itemized document read like a laundry list of stuff they didn't even order: democracy, Indian removal, teabags. Sure they used some of them, but it wasn't like they asked for anything to begin with. It's kind of like getting a bunch of free Columbia House DVDs in the mail and then finding out six months later that you owe $151.36. I don't even have a job. I mean, how do they think I had all that time to watch the free DVDs in the first place?

Anyway, what ended up happening was your ancestors called up to dispute the claim with the parent company. They were like, "Hey can I speak to your manager? This can't be right. Voting? I don't even do that." And the guy on the other line probably said something like, "Sorry, but we're the only game in town right now. Deal with it." And then hung up the phone.

Then all of the colonists got together for a big meeting and decided that if they were going to get anywhere with this dispute they would have to talk to the King. After all, everyone knows that people named George are the kindest, gentlest, most thoughtful people in the world. Unfortunately, however, this British George happened to be somewhat stubborn and shortsighted. The people were like, "Hey George. I don't really understand why you're charging us so much when we're not even being represented." And George shot back, "What are you talking about? Haven't you ever heard of VIRTUAL REPRESENTATION?"

The truth was that they hadn't. Because it didn't exist. George just made the whole thing up.

Well, I guess you know how the rest of the story goes. Your ancestors were so mad that they went to great lengths to beat the living crap out of those people with the funny accents. There was some bitterness for a hundred years or so but now we're best friends. Sometimes we go for overnight trips together to different exotic places all over the world bringing gifts like Jesus and rainbows.

So, this 4th of July, while you're sitting at home listening to Jamiroquai's smash hit "Virtual Insanity" and engaging in some virtual flirting with your favorite pal on Myspace, could you do me a favor?

Write a check in my name payable to:
Columbia House Company
One Penn Plaza
250 West 34th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10119

It turns out they sent a collection agency for that $151.36 and I don't want to have to go all American Revolution on their ass.

Thanks,
Neil