Is it wrong to read other people’s mail?  I mean, you know, if they’ve moved away and not filled out a change-of-address form and their mail still comes to the home you’ve just moved into?  The former occupants of the Fanfarron Estate receive the occasional catalogue, like Wireless (which is lame: seriously, who’d buy a Windam Hill box set or this creeptacular whatsit?) and Restoration Hardware (which they clearly didn’t use to outfit the house; the fixtures are strictly Wal-Mart.) From this, and the maude-awful paint colors, I know that the former owners had awful taste. I’ve also discovered someone here had very long, dark hair. This I found out not by perusing the mail, but by cleaning the shower basin. One could infer I also learned from this that they weren’t big on cleaning either.

I also know the previous occupant bounced a lot of checks.

Which brings me to my question. You see, I’m pretty damned aggressive when it comes to returning undeliverable mail. I’ll mark waylaid bills, letters, credit card offers “Return To Sender” and set them back out in the mailbox. This isn’t some noble act, some need to let the curious sender know their missives have not reached the intended, it’s done mostly because I hope that, someday, this errant, misdirected crap will quit clogging my mail slot.

Somewhere between a St. George University, Grenada, Alumni newsletter and an offer for Cheap! Cheap!! Cheap!!! insurance rates I saw an envelope that was obviously from a collection agency.  I hate collection agencies.  If a collection agent calls or comes to the door looking for debtor, I offer them no help.  In fact, I try to give them bits of misinformation in the hopes whomever they’re looking for might keep one more step ahead. 

I’m also incredibly nosey.  It’s almost compulsive.  I want to know how much you make a year.  I want to know how many times you’ve been arrested.  I want to know how much you drink.  What you drink.  What your middle name is.  Where you went to elementary school.  How much you paid for your house.  If you hate your father.  If you’ve ever cheated on your parter.  How you vote.  What medications you’re on.  Boxers or briefs?  Pepsi or Coke?  Dogs or cats?  Union or Confederate?  The Bends or OK Computer?  Monkeys or robots?  Grande?  Venti?  Tall?  Fries with that?  And by “you” I do mean you

So, yeah, I saw the letter from the collection agency.  And I opened it.  (I accept full responsibilty for this, though I will note, just for full disclosure, I was encouraged to do this by my roommate, ever the one to play Sacco to my Vanzetti.) That’s how I found out the former occupant bounced checks.  Bounced a lot of checks. 

I ask again, is it wrong to read other people’s mail?  I now am privy to a, potentially, terrible and embarrasing secret about someone I don’t know.  Someone I will never know.  Is it any different than what goes on at PostSecret?  You know, aside from that info being volunteered by the secret-keeper.  And aside from it being a felony.  And ethically suspect.

Just wondering.