Monday, June 24, 2013

The Universe and Its Minions Conspire

I thought my rural mail carrier and I were on good terms. After all, I had buried the hatchet after he cost me two tubes of Clearasil Vanishing Cream by laying them ON TOP of the wooden mailbox holder at our unsupervised mailbox row on the blacktop county road.

R. Carry had redeemed himself by giving up my package when I ran up to his car, wherein he sat in the passenger seat shoving mail into gaping mailbox maws between bouts of driving abnormally. That saved me a day and a trip to a neighboring town. So it was with joy that I nodded to him this morning when I encountered him on the way to town, and gave him the two-fingered steering-wheel salute. We are best buds, no?

Yeah. NO!

Here is what The Pony found in EmBee, our green metal pipe mailbox, today.

The cover was clinging by a thread. I don't know what that bar code is, stuck to the top edge in the photo. The inside page was all crumply. I would show you the horrendous condition of the back cover...except there's no back cover. It is completely gone. Probably being made into a voodoo implement with which to torture me in the future.

Seriously. This is serious. How am I expected to hone my craft with a professional magazine in this condition? Do you know how hard it's going to be to stack this issue on the end table under my plier lamp so I can read it when I find time?

I have not had this much trouble with a magazine since my second year of teaching, in Sheldon, Missouri, where I lived in an upstairs apartment with a threadbare rug in an old railroad hotel, where I slept in a bedroom that was once a back porch, hanging off the building proper at a 15-degree angle. The bedroom, of course. I was not hanging off the building. I could have been dislodged by the atmospheric wake of the train that regularly sped by on the track twenty feet from my dwelling.

Yes, that little no-horse miniature-pony town had its own post office. I walked there every morning on my way to work, to pick up mail from my post office box. Times were tough back then, and my mom had given me a People magazine subscription for Christmas. It was my only pleasure, next to the three channels I could receive on my tiny TV with rabbit ears. People arrived every Monday. I carried it to school, and read it on my 1st-hour plan time. What's that? Planning? Surely you jest. I taught elementary PE. I could plan those lessons in my head in a coma. Yes, People arrived every Monday. In the beginning.

As time went by, People showed up on Tuesday. And then...and then...People slouched in on Wednesday, rumpled, with cookie crumbs in its crevices!

I don't mean to point the finger at our hair-trigger-temper, ten-point-veteran's bonus civil servants...but I suspect that an insider somewhere in my People's chain of command was having his way with my glossy companion. I say "he" because a she would have shaken out the crumbs, most likely into her mouth.

The USPS conspires against me.


  1. And people wonder why the Post Office is in trouble.

  2. Having his way with your magazine? That is an image I can do without...unless your postal worker looked like Viggo or Johnny or Mark (Harmon).

    Did he?

  3. Stephen,
    I am not one of those wonderers. The dead-mouse-smelling post office of Backroads pretty much took away any doubt. The place where they hand over my packages to any stranger off the street, or set it on top of my mailbox so they can steal by drive-thru, but ask ME for my DRIVER'S LICENSE photo when I'm bearing the orange package-pickup card left by the mailman. I'm starting to think rumors of my driver's license photo precede me.

    Um. No. Not even a passing resemblance. Remember that comic, Avery Schreiber? I think he now drives a rural mail delivery route in Backroads.

    You're right! I can hardly wait for an electronic gewgaw to break, so I can package it, insure it, mail it to myself, and buy a new one on the USPS dime.