The Details Are Nuts.

Details intentionally obscured.

Details intentionally obscured.

I got an envelope in the mail with “DETAILS INSIDE” printed on it. I could be wrong but I thought that it was in the very nature of envelopes to keep the details of a letter on the inside, usually because it’s too easy for multiple pages to get separated and lost from each other, although also for reasons of privacy. I once asked my grandfather why steam came out of the kettle when it was heated. He said, “So your grandmother can read the neighbors’ mail,” but that’s another story.

I have no problem with warnings on labels that other people seem to consider ridiculously redundant, like “May contain nuts” on jars of nuts. Logically I know that the labels are made by large companies that package a lot of different things and one standard label is cheaper and easier than separating the nuts from the chaff. And an allergy to nuts can be fatal. If I were allergic to nuts and saw “May contain nuts” on a jar of nuts I’d think, “Thank you, large faceless corporation, for going just a little bit further to protect my safety.”

So why did “DETAILS INSIDE” irk me so much? Maybe not so much because it was redundant but it was inaccurate. There were details on the outside too. My name and address, not to mention the sender’s address, which, if nothing else had, gave it away as junk mail, were details. It should have said “MORE DETAILS INSIDE”.

For a while my wife and I inexplicably got the mail of a guy who, as far as we knew, had never lived there. Most of it was junk mail so I think maybe he got our address from somewhere and was giving it out instead of ours to throw off marketers. The mail that came gave me some details about him: he liked to collect swords, enjoyed cigars, and I think he even subscribed to Details magazine.

Pictured: Some magazines I might subscribe to.  Not pictured: Details magazine.

Pictured: Some magazines I might subscribe to.
Not pictured: Details magazine.

I had a more disturbing mail experience when I met a guy at a local coffee shop. We’d see each other at poetry readings we both attended. I learned he worked at the post office and he learned I wrote poetry. And then he started writing me notes on the outside of my mail. He was right there in the post office. Couldn’t he have just written me a letter? I didn’t want to report him because he knew where I lived. That was a detail I’d never wanted to share with him.

12 Comments

  1. PinkNoam

    Please keep us updated on the notes from creepy-post-office-poet! Could make for good reading…

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I consider it a mixed blessing that I no longer get notes from him. They were rather prosaic anyway, and while it was weirdly amusing to be on his radar I’m really happier without them.

      Reply
  2. Gina

    Oh man, the notes outside of your mail are just creepy. Ugh, it makes me feel nervous inside just thinking about it. I hope it was friendly things like, “Hope you’re enjoying this nice weather” and not, “Check out the underwear on page 17 of this catalog. You would look nice in them.” My friend Marge has a sister who is a mail carrier and she has some funny stories of dealing with people. Like being invited inside someone’s house so they could show her details on an x-ray. People never cease to be strange, do they? Why can’t everyone be completely normal just like me?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It was things like “Haven’t seen you in a while” and “Call me sometime”, which wasn’t disturbingly creepy–just borderline. It was enough to unnerve me. That’s funny that some people will invite the mail carrier into their house. Some of my neighbors know the mail carrier for our neighborhood by name, but I wouldn’t be able to spot him in a lineup if he were the only one wearing a mail carrier uniform.

      Reply
  3. Chuck Baudelaire

    Your grandfather’s statement cracked me up. Also, I probably would have sent a letter addressed to the Post Office with “STOP YOU’RE CREEPING ME THE FUCK OUT” scrawled on it. Perhaps in blood.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That would have been a really good response. I didn’t work there, but I think I would have been justified in going postal.

      Reply
  4. kdcol

    Talk about an abuse of power for that USPS employee. Just because he CAN, doesn’t mean he SHOULD. I would find that totally creepy as well.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      With mid-level power comes great responsibility. And I should have added that he wasn’t delivering the mail. He was one of the sorters who never left the post office itself. I’ve always thought that was a pretty fast-paced job with little or no down time. I’m surprised he could even single out my address, let alone stop to write a note.

      Reply
  5. Spoken Like A True Nut

    Man, I thought it was creepy when I was working retail and customers would write their number on their receipt and try to give it back to me, but your postie wins the award for unnerving misuse of stationery.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      What’s also crazy is that he had my email address so any time he wanted he could have dropped me a note that way. Maybe he thought of it like saying hello to someone he passed by at work. I felt very differently.

      Reply
  6. Ann Koplow

    The devil is in the details, Christopher. I’m not sure if that’s a helpful detail, but I loved the details inside your post.

    Reply
  7. TwerlaP

    I wish I had saved some of my college papers. I had a prof that would write some relly bad double entendres. I cant really remember, but like “A ~That really hit MY spot”. I know he had a rep for dating sfudents, but ugh.

    Reply

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