Ask Mr. Postal Service Person

Everybody loves the daily walk down to the mailbox this time of the year, when it’s chock full of greeting cards and catalogs that cause Mr. Postal Service severe back pain and make him just a tad bit snippy.

The US Postal Service is here to serve you, the people who make it possible for Mr. Postal Service Person to retire in just 1,432 more work days, as if I’m counting. This past summer several postal patrons wrote to me with questions, and when I received their letters yesterday, I immediately sent them the following helpful responses:

The Big Bopper

Dear Mr. Postal Service Person:

I see where the Postal Service is fighting for the right to set their own prices–what is it with you guys?   Isn’t it enough that you have those fancy English trucks with the steering wheel on the wrong side?  I’d like a refund on the sheet of “Big Bopper” commemorative stamps that I bought–from now on nothing but email for me.

Ewell Pickens, Paducah, Kentucky

Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I’ll play first base, third base, outfield–anywhere but Philadelphia.”

Dear Mr. Pickens:

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.” He also said “Three generations of imbeciles is enough” and ”If a horse won’t eat it, I won’t play on it.” No wait, that was Richie Allen.

Allen: “There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

Anyway, if you haven’t figured out by now that stamp prices are only going to go up, why don’t you take your business to Federal Express and pay $12.32 to send your stupid mail?


Dear Mr. Postal Service Person–

I was just watching television and saw a commercial for the Postal Service where all of the USPS employees were smiling and friendly.  This is inconsistent with my experience, where the staff at the post office make you wait to be called before you approach the counter, then they snarl at you.  Where is the happy post office, I think I would prefer it to the ones around here.

Ethel Niedermayer, Boston, Mass.


Dear Ethel–

I see you live in Boston, home of Brandy Pete’s, the restaurant with the motto “The customer is always wrong,” and Durgin Park, where the waitresses say “I haven’t got all day” if you take too long to order the fishcakes and beans.

Since Boston is supposed to be the “Athens of America,” perhaps you can ask someone to explain to you the difference between an actor and a person in real life.

Dear Mr. Postal Service Person:

Whatever happened to Mr. Zip, the friendly cartoon character who helped introduce zip codes back in the 60′s?

Allison de Vries, Pottsdam, New York

“We need human subjects for a stupidity experiment we’re conducting.”

Dear Allison:

Mr. Zip retired and returned to his boyhood home in the Alpha Centuri galaxy. He periodically visits the US to abduct human subjects in and around Roswell, New Mexico.

Dear Mr. Postal Service Person:

Why is a male employee of the Postal Service called a “mail man,” while a female is called a “mail lady,” like Reba the Mail Lady on Pee Wee Herman? To be fair, shouldn’t a “mail man” be called a “mail gentleman”?

Bob Rouchka, Tarkio, MO



Good point! The precise term for the friendly person who naps in his truck down the block from your house so he can s-t-r-e-t-c-h his route to cover a full shift is “letter carrier,” which is a unisex term that can be applied to both men and women. “Letter carriers” are required to select a gender at the beginning of each workday so as not to unduly disturb the vicious dogs you people keep in your front yards, like you’re a bunch of crack dealers or something.

John Ratzenberger as “Cliff” on Cheers

Mr. Postal Service Person:

It must be hard for you to deal with the stereotypes such as “Cliff” on “Cheers,” the postman who used to spend all his time drinking beer and yakking when he should have been out delivering mail.  Are you ever tempted to “go postal” on somebody who makes a cruelly insensitive remark about your work ethic?

Norbert Downing, Fell’s Acres, Vermont


Why did you have to bring up “going postal”? What was the point of that? And why are you still watching Cheers? It went off the air years ago. What is it with you–you think you’re so freaking special.

Non-violent bodacious UFC employees

A study by the Brotherhood of Letter Carriers found that postal workers are no more likely to engage in workplace violence than hockey players or Ultimate Fighting Championship employees. Except for the round card girls, who are quite bodacious, by the way.

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”

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