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When it absolutely, positively doesn't have to be there overnight

December 07, 2011

I want the U.S. Postal Service to stay in business, and I don't really care whether it delivers any mail or not.

That's because sometimes it seems like the mail carriers and people who work at the post office are the only friends I have.

They're always cordial. They always smile and have a kind word and listen sympathetically to whatever insanity is cooking in my head at any given time. I've never had a bad experience in the post office or with my letter carrier.

It's one of the last things in life I can count on.

So if you want to change the name from the U.S. Postal Service to the American Affirmation Society and just pay them to stand around and say hi, that's fine with me.

I know a lot of people are frustrated by the mail system at the moment; I know this because when people have a problem with the post office, they call The Herald-Mail. Who do we look like, Ben Franklin?

But the problem seems to be that all of our mail, which used to be processed in Frederick, is now being routed by way of Tucson and arrives in our box filled with snake skins and cactus needles.

And people are angry, not because they are three days late hearing from Aunt Tillie, but because "the advertising fliers don't arrive until after the sale has already started."

I guess you have to know a little bit about me and my background to understand my reaction to this, which is basically this:

Don't these people have better things to worry about like jobs, money, car repairs, kids' illnesses, overdrawn bank accounts, open sores, business deadlines? What are they, NUTS, that they worry about such trivial matters as a stinking advertising flier?

Sorry.

But frankly, I have spent pretty much my entire adult life trying to AVOID advertisements. I open my mailbox and start swearing like a WVU girl because it's nothing BUT advertising fliers. That and seed catalogues, which inexplicably started arriving this year around Labor Day.

So our mail is arriving later than ever, since all the local post offices have to wait around half the day for the shipment that used to come from Frederick bright and early in the morning.

So now, you see someone on the street after midnight, you don't know if the person's selling meth or delivering the mail.

Naturally, it's not the post office, but Congress, that's the problem. Near as I can tell, the conversations have gone something like this:

Congress: You need to cut spending.

Postal service: OK, we will eliminate Saturday delivery.

Congress: No, you cannot do that.

Postal service: OK, we'll cut back on deliveries in remote locations.

Congress: No, you can't do that either. Here's an idea — keep delivering the mail, just get rid of the people who deliver it.

I'm not real sure why Congress is so set on maintaining mail delivery six days a week — unless it's worried we might miss out on some gripping campaign literature.

Me, I'm a strong supporter of Saturday delivery. But the other five days I could do without.

What, I'm not going to be able to wait for the latest offer from AARP? Aside from them, the only agency that uses the government for mail service is the government — Internal Revenue Service, Washington County Water and Sewer Department and the Maryland Division of General Harassment.

So maybe we don't need a post office after all.

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