Going Postal

January 29, 2010

Dear Mail Delivery Person,

Thank you for the note informing me that my garbage can was not, but should be, always placed three feet away from my mailbox. I double-checked just to make sure and found that my garbage can was, in fact, thirty-seven inches away from the mailbox. You’re correct: thirty-seven inches is not three feet. I’m sorry for misunderstanding, and I’ll try to make sure the garbage can and mailbox are separated by the correct distance, although I might screw up and accidentally put them a meter apart, which would be even worse. But as long as I’m trying to be helpful, there are a couple of things I’d like you to do as well. They are:

– Please don’t write notes or draw pictures on my mail. I understand that sometimes you have to scribble with a ballpoint pen to get it to start working, but you seem to have missed the fact that, once it’s working, you can stop scribbling. You don’t have to keep going until the back of my water bill is covered in blue ink. If you have that much trouble with your ballpoint pens, why not carry a pad of your own? You can use it for writing down that half of a phone number which, for reasons I’ll never understand, you wrote on my cable guide.

– If an envelope has "Do Not Fold" printed on it that means don’t fold the envelope. This may come as a surprise but if you fold the envelope then what’s in it also gets folded. "Do Not Fold" also means "Do not bend the envelope then cram it into the mailbox as hard as you possibly can so that the edges get completely crumpled". I know that’s not what it says, but obviously all that was too much to fit on a rubber stamp.

– The word "Fragile" is not, in spite of what Darren McGavin may have told you, the name of a town in Italy. It’s an adjective that means "Please don’t drive over this with the truck anymore."

– I realize it’s a great inconvenience to get out of your truck and walk to my front door, especially on a warm, sunny day, but I’d appreciate it if you would leave packages on the front porch instead of using approximately three hundred rubber bands to form an elaborate cage fastening them to the front of the mailbox. You may not realize it since your average speed is two and a half inches an hour but it’s a hazard for drivers going the speed limit to have to swerve around a twenty-seven pound box covered with rubber bands that sticks out into the street. I do, by the way, appreciate the note you wrote on the letter from my mother that told me there was a package on my front porch. Did you think I wouldn’t notice the four-foot long box, or did you think I’d overlook the fact that it was delivered by UPS?

I hope we can come to an understanding on this, and I want you to know that I respect the fact that every year the post office manages to deliver approximately six tons of catalogs and pizza coupons to every person in the country while at the same time losing the eleven pieces of actual mail that people still send each other. And I’m also being polite because I’m pretty sure you know where I live, although, based on the amount of mail I get addressed to some woman in Bosnia, I could be wrong about that.

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