(originally published 2014)

Hover over “Shop” and click “Stamps” at usps.com and the front page offers Forever stamps featuring Harvey Milk, Charlton Heston and Jimi Hendrix. I guess you have to be dead…or a songbird…to get your picture on a stamp.

 

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I respect the United States Postal Service. Despite its questionable reputation and dismal ledger, the USPS continues to avoid doomsday and maintain a generally adequate success rate of delivering mail. It seems, from my experience, less reliable in the city than the suburbs. I’ve heard tales of low customer satisfaction in sketchier neighborhoods.   I don’t doubt the validity of such stories.

Overall, though, the post office provides more of a public service than a majority of federal government agencies. Why does it get such a bad rap?

Mr. McFeely fulfilled postal carrier duties with the utmost honor. Amiable and contemplative, McFeely always had time for a chat. Although he left quickly and awkwardly that time Mr. Rogers asked him about divorce.

Cliff Clavin garnered very little respect from his bar mates at Cheers. Perhaps a perception of bumbling mailmen proliferated in the wake of weekly Must See TV mockery. Carla ripped Clavin to shreds, but even she couldn’t deny his commitment to the office. Know-it-all Cliff also put together an unforgettable stand up comedy routine, featuring a catch phrase only Diondre Cole could admire.

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Newman from Seinfeld may have been the catalog that broke the American mail carrier’s back. Newman’s brazen negligence left an illegible return address on the popular perception of postmen. Newman called in sick on rainy days, used trucks to run interstate bottle return scams and advocated a careless “crease, crumple, cram” procedure for “Do Not Bend” envelopes. He hid mail in Jerry’s storage space while awaiting a transfer to his dream Hawaiian route, where “the air is so dewy sweet, you don’t even have to lick the stamps.”

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I issued a complaint over the holidays when a couple packages went missing. I asked the guy and found out he couldn’t gain entrance to my building. In providing a remedy, my reward was one of the missing packages, a Christmas gift. He’d been keeping it in his truck, unable to make delivery. Still unaccounted for are a 6-month supply of soft contact lenses and a limited edition Eminem “Rap God” T-shirt I purchased for myself online. Both packages are marked as delivered according to the post office, but neither was ever received at my address. Luckily, WalMart Vision picked up the slack (and footed the bill) for the missing contacts and sent a replacement. The T-shirt I’ve chalked up as a loss. I’m 100% sure the post office is to blame. Even if it weren’t, I’d rather lose the 20 bucks than come off looking like a complainer around the offices of Shady Ltd. Besides, I have enough fucking T-shirts. Furthermore, ‘twas a lesson learned about buying myself Christmas presents. Either way, bygones are bygones. My mail seems to be arriving these days and my mailman and I are cool. McFeely/Rogers cool.