Today is day 4 of being snowed in. I’m going a little crazy. I’m tired of not being able to drive. I’m in dire need of a project. I’m in dire need of something. Anyway, due to the insane snow and my inability to navigate my two-wheel drive car in said insane snow, I was unable to actually venture out and meet a real live mailman. Don’t worry, I’ve met them before. I know what they look like. I figured I might as well profile some things about mailmen and my favorite mailmen for your reading enjoyment.
This morning my father sent me a link to a great website about mailmen. He loves to help me prepare for these holidays. Here is what I learned.
1. Maybe your dog won’t bite you. But in 2009, 2,863 of us were bitten, an average of nine bites per delivery day. That’s why I wince when your Doberman comes flying out the door.
2. Remember this on Valentine’s Day: It takes our machines longer to read addresses on red envelopes (especially if they’re written in colored ink). (But if someone wants to send me a red card with colored ink I won’t be sad about it.)
3. Why stand in line? At usps.com, you can buy stamps, place a hold on your mail, change your address, and apply for passports. We even offer free package pickup and free flat-rate envelopes and boxes, all delivered right to your doorstep.
4. Media Mail is a bargain, but most of you don’t know to ask for it. Sending ten pounds of books from New York City to San Francisco through Media Mail costs $5.89, compared with $16.77 for Parcel Post. Besides books, use it to send manuscripts, DVDs, and CDs; just don’t include anything else in the package. (Go ahead and send me that mixed tape you made me.)
5. We don’t get a penny of your tax dollars. Really. The sale of postage, products, and services at our 36,000 retail locations, and on our website, covers all of the post office’s operating expenses. (Good, those stamps are pricey enough.)
6. UPS and FedEx charge you $10 or more for messing up an address. Us? Not a cent.
7. Paychecks, personal cards, letters—anything that looks like good news—I put those on top. Utility and credit card bills? They go under everything else. (I like that the mailman is using his ‘good news’ judgement.)
8. Sorry if I seem like I’m in a hurry, but I’m under the gun: Our supervisors tell us when to leave, how many pieces of mail to deliver, and when we should aim to be back. Then some of us scan bar codes in mailboxes along our route so they can monitor our progress. (Spooky. Those supervisors sound like big brother.)
9. Yes, we do have to buy our own stamps, but a lot of us carry them for customers who need them. If we don’t charge you, that’s because we like you.
10. Use a ballpoint pen. Ink from those felt tips runs in the rain. (But Sharpie pens are my favorite!!)
11. Please dress properly when you come to the door. A towel wrapped around you doesn’t cut it. And we definitely don’t want to see you in your underwear!
12. We serve 150 million addresses six days a week, so we’re often in the right place at the right time. We pull people out of burning cars, catch burglars in the act, and call 911 to report traffic accidents, dead bodies, and more. (Really? Really??)
13. Most of us don’t mind if you pull up to our trucks while we’re delivering and ask for your mail a little early. But please get out of your car and come get it. Don’t just put your hand out your window and wait for me to bring it to you.
I found that fairly interesting. Especially the part about finding dead bodies. Really? Dead bodies. I mean I get it, you guys rule, but dead bodies???
I also realize that mailmen play a large role in the shows that I enjoy so greatly.
He is an enigma of large proportion. I love Seinfeld. I have always loved Seinfeld. My life is literally a running Seinfeld episode. Newman is the neighbor/mailman. He takes his profession incredibly seriously and loves delivering the mail. Which in turn makes me love the mail. I recall as a kid watching Seinfeld with my parents and being enamored with this strange and easily hatable…ness. I remember when Space Jam came out and I was so jazzed that Newman was in it.
One of the greatest mailman things every said by Newman is this, “Because the mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming. There’s never a let-up, It’s relentless. Every day it piles up more and more, but the more you get out, the more it keeps coming. And then the bar code reader breaks. And then it’s Publisher’s Clearinghouse day.”
And he’s right. The term going postal means exactly that. The post office is a scary place. Do you remember that scene from The Grinch where Cindy Loo Who gets sucked into the mail machine? Terrifying, I know.
So hug a mailman. Thank him. Say, “Hey! Thanks for driving that weird truck with the steering on the British side. Thanks for braving insane weather while some of us sit out our couches and blog and watch multiple seasons of girly T.V. shows!”
Potentially the most loved mailman of all.
He lived on Cheers. He frequented the bar. He was played by John Ratzenberger. I have a crush on John Ratzenberger’s voice. I think he is the greatest. I’m kind of obsessed. I loved watching Cheers as a kid, but now not that huge of a fan. I went through a strange phase where I watched Cheers and Coach and Frasier. I was a weird kid. A real weird kid. But it’s fine. I got over it.
I do think it’s kind of cool that there is a fleet of people who bring us our stuff. I also have always had sort of an issue with the mail. It kind of weirds me out that we put valuable things in the mail in an unassuming box and expect total strangers to get it to the final destination. It’s the same feeling I get when I check luggage at the airport. I’m trusting these people not to rob me. It goes against everything people teach you your entire life. My brain just gets boggled.
Fleet of people is a real phrase. Believe me.