Signed, sealed, and undelivered

America is arguably one of the nicest places on earth to live. We have the best movies, the best music and certainly the best fast food.

It’s just too bad that we have to be afraid of the mail. Anthrax, mailbox bombs, IRS notices. Your mailbox ought to come with a PG-13 rating. That is, if you ever actually receive any mail in there.

Me, I’m perfectly safe because I have not actually received mail in any reliable fashion for years now. No one knows where the heck my mail goes.

I realize the U.S. Postal Service has been hard at work designing a new series of stamps every other week featuring great Americans like Bugs Bunny and Elvis. Heck, dusting off those “Most Wanted” posters that appear nowhere else but the post office would take up a chunk of time. (I hear they are closing in on John Dillinger and may have Al Capone any day now).

So I realize as well as anyone that they’ve got things to do over there. They are busy, busy folks. I would just really appreciate it if, from time to time, they could throw a little bit of attention to my mail because they are ruining me here.

Yes, my friends, I have become one of those dreaded people that are shunned by decent folk. I’ve become one of the “it’s in the mail” types. For quite some time now I have been unable to get a bill in on time, or received for that matter (but, it turns out, not getting your cable bill is not a good reason for not paying your cable bill, picky, picky).

Worse yet – the birthday, holiday, and various greetings cards I send are either lost forever or seriously waylaid. How stupid do I look sending “congratulations on the blessing of your new baby!” cards that don’t arrive until the child’s first birthday?

I mean, I realize how facetious this all sounds but really – I am sending this stuff out. I have e-mail now. I could not send my grandmother’s birthday card via e-mail much quicker than I could not send it via regular mail. And since no over 14 entirely trusts e-mail yet – I would have a ready made excuse handy at all times for why my greeting never arrived in their inbox.

But no, I remain steadfast and true to the snail mail that made me what I am today. A woman with cobwebs on her little red flag. Good, bad, and undelivered.

The postal service being an equal opportunity type of place, there seems to be great care taken to ensuring that no good mail sneaks into our home either. Granted, we still get the flyers for grocery stores we have never heard of (does this happen to you? I keep getting flyers for great sales on chicken breasts at a grocery store chain located in another state) but we don’t get our own birthday cards and the like.

All of this begs the question – why is this happening and what can we do about it? First – I’m not fixing blame. I firmly believe that it is more work for the post office to lose mail than to deliver it.

Think about it – my lost bills alone would clutter up the office so badly they would have to add on and bring in new personnel just to stash it all. So that’s not the key.

No, I’m afraid we have to accept that some mail goes to wherever it is that lost socks and one of every pair of earrings I have ever owned go. The postal carriers are dutifully processing and packing it all – and just as we put in two socks for every pair and receive only one sock back in return – so goes the mail.

We must lower our standards. It’s all a matter of marketing. Forget that old jingle that said “Your Postal Service: when it absolutely positively has to be there overnight.”

We’ll aim more for “when it absolutely, positively has to be there – Someday.” Then we’ll sweeten the deal: “Free sock with every delivery.”

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt delights in reader mail any way she can get it. e-mail, U.S.P.S., carrier pigeon. She welcomes them all c/o P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460 or kseabolt@epohi.com.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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