Many happy postal returns to you all


Did you hear the one about the 4-foot-long alligator chewing its way out of a shipping carton in a Milwaukee post office before being subdued by a postal employee who tossed it into a hamper and called animal control authorities?

Can you imagine how dangerous that was? The alligator could have actually made it into the postal system and never been seen again, poor thing.

Me, I want to meet the person who shipped a life-threatening exotic animal through the U.S. mail. Bless their optimistic little heart.

Blind faith. Shipping anything these days takes a certain amount of blind faith and more than a little cunning. I’m trying to get the United States Postal Service (motto: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there someday – maybe”) to send a stuffed toy and a board game to Canada and making no headway whatsoever.

Apparently, there is a huge risk of contraband stuffed bears and Candy Land games from here to our northern neighbors and the post office is doing everything in their power to clamp down on that right now.

Turned away. I have been turned away for wrong box, incorrect labeling and, insufficient tape style, type, and/or color. Perhaps if I labeled the box “live alligator” I’d have a shot?

Significantly, the Milwaukee alligator incident included mention that the alligator had chewed its way through the tape on the box.

Well, right there is the problem. Anyone who has ever tried to send a package knows that the postal service is a real stickler on the tape thing. They have certain, strict preferences for color, size, sheen, and type of tape and they change these frequently just to keep you on your toes.

Obviously, had the sender used the USPS approved “Alligator Proof Tape” (surely on sale right there at the counter) this entire incident could have been avoided. People. Sheesh.

Moral of the story. So what is the moral of this entire story? Well, friends, that would be the fact that it was really the size of the alligator, and not the alligator itself, that caused the post office to go, well, postal.

Apparently, the actual regulations are that alligators (and similar living things) not longer than 20 inches are permitted via U.S. mail. Had this alligator been just a few feet shorter all would have been copasetic with the post office.

Shipped himself. The alligator, however, was not to be outdone by the young man who earlier this year shipped himself across the country by sealing himself inside a wooden crate.

He, wise soul, left nothing to chance – he splurged on the express service. Obviously the only wise choice.

Granted, the date to send your live alligator, yourself, or much of anything else, in time for Christmas has clearly passed. As you were reading this column, someone snatched up the last gourmet cheese gift set in America.

The last Beer of the Month club entry just shipped. And that fruitcake that has been circling the globe since 1957 is well on the way to another unsuspecting household.

By this time you could, at best, hope to have your alligator to the intended recipient by Valentines Day.

Measure twice. Whatever you choose to ship off, remember to learn from the mistakes of others. It is always a good rule of thumb to measure twice (remember, 20 inch or less flesh eating anything is perfectly fine) and wrap once (in “Alligator approved tape, of course).

Now back to me. I need only devise a foolproof method to make one stuffed toy and a child’s board game look less threatening to the Postal Service.

Perfect disguise. The perfect disguise to enable it to slide right through the system. To make it appear, perhaps, just a bit more like a 19 and 1/2 inch alligator.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt wishes you a very happy new year. She welcomes comments c/o or P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)


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Kymberly Foster Seabolt lives in rural Appalachia with the always popular Mr. Wonderful, two small dogs, one large cat, two wandering goats, and a growing extended family.