One day a little while back I went to the post office and waited in line to mail a tyvek envelope to a friend and near the conclusion of the transaction I asked for some stamps saying do you have any rock stars or politicians? I got George Bush he said. Which one? I asked. The dead one, he said they don’t make stamps of people that are still alive oh and I have JFK too. I’ll take the JFKs I said.
Today I’m sending a postcard to my mom with a JFK forever stamp. That’s 55 cents for first class letter postage. I believe there are postcard stamps too that cost a bit less but I no longer mess with those because I like to send big fat postcards made out of 12 pack packaging or repurposed scraps sillkscreened with cows or chainrings.
On December 29 2020 I mailed a large postcard to Alistair. He received it on March 2 2021. It only had to travel from the 98195 to the 98115 and it got close to him but not quite to him for more than 60 days.
As a post apocalyptic electric assist mailman I get a little behind the scenes look at the delivery process and realize the sequence of events that must fall into place for a scrap of paper to make its way from one person to another. It’s an epic journey with multiple opportunities for human error, stupidity, laziness, dyslexia, oversight, understaffing, sticky fingers, spilled milk, spilled chocolate milk and good old bad luck. It’s amazing anything arrives at all. And that’s on a good day. I won’t even comment on the current USPS situations you’re reading about in the news.
A side note in the realm of plausible deniability as those in the know know: chocolate milk is a euphemism for another beverage that is popular with bicycle delivery people and I’d like to remind all y’all that when you click on some plastic shit to buy on line… some sad sack sucker like me will be schlepping it those final fifty fucking feet to your door. It’s not magic and it’s not all on line and not everyone is able to work from home.
Philately is right up my alley. I’m not a collector just an observer. There’s a guy on my route that pays his bills with checks written on paper inserted into envelopes with stamps that he hopes and wishes will travel via USPS all the way to their destination. I smile and do my part on the first leg of the letter’s long journey. Today that’s rather unusual because as you know there’s an app for that and that and that too. This guy isn’t just old school he’s way way old school and I like that. In 1985 the price of a first class stamp went up to 22 cents and that Joe Jackson song was a throwback jam and this guy must have been sitting on some serious stamps. As you can see he gets to 55 cents one way or another but he takes the long way. Sometimes he brings in a glue stick or scotch tape for extra support and some adhesion. All this speaks to me as a potential Pearl Jam song titled “elderly professor emeritus sitting in his office in the chemical engineering department of a large state university” I’m humming along to it as we speak.