Dead Letters

I've been having this problem with my PO box which is that I never get any mail.  I assumed it was the ordinary version of that problem (no one mails me  anything), but then someone contacted me, asking if I'd received a check he mailed a check 10 days ago.  

There's only one problem you can have with a post office box.  If you have a car, you might have windshield wipers that don't work, or a weird rattle at a certain speed.  Or even a phone, which might be a little better metaphor, could have various problems.  But there's only one thing that can go wrong with a PO box.

And, if you have that problem, you can either have to just suck it up and just go to the post office every day to read the obituaries on the window, knowing you won't get mail, or you can tangle with the weird bureaucracy that is the federal government.  Neither option looks good.

I decided to test the system by mailing something to myself.  I rummaged around in my car and found an envelope and a stamp.  It seemed like I should put something in the envelope.  Right?  Because, even if it's self-addressed and turns up in my box in one day, I know that I'll want to open it.

So I rummaged around in my car some more, and found a poem that a friend gave me recently.  It's been kicking around in my vehicle for a few weeks, and I read it at traffic lights.  I think his point, or at least the point of the poem, is that it's good for the world to struggle and be honest, even though it's not always fun.   It matters and changes things the way roots making their way through dark hardened soil change things, even though it isn't obvious for a long time.  That seems like a good thing to think about when I'm waiting for the light to change.  

Anyway, to get to the point -- I folded it up and put it in the envelope addressed to myself, and thought sheesh, now I've become that person, the person who mails love(ish) poetry to myself.  The only thing that could make this any worse is if I decorated the envelope. But the second thing I noticed is that I felt tiny bit sad when I dropped it in the box.  

Goodbye little poem.  I hope I see you again, or if I don't, I hope you find your way to the dead letter office or somewhere else where you'll do your quiet magic.


  1. There just isn't much mail anymore...bills come via email and after bills what is there for mail anyway? Maybe I'll start mailing things to myself. At least the post person will have something to do.

    1. Yes, it's not so terrible to get mail, even if you mail it yourself. Just be sure not to be like me, though, and forget to add a stamp, so that when you go in, they hand it to you. And they KNOW you mailed it to yourself because your name is in both places. Awkward...

  2. Oh my, I didn't think that was sad, just scientific and logical, testing the system. I too was missing a check from a customer for over a week, and maybe the post office lost it, or maybe, my po box, which is on the top row, combined with my elfish height, plus the tiny envelope used, which laid flat against the bottom of the po box, which I am too short to see - maybe all these things were a factor. I now make a strange habit of looking in the po box, then standing tip toe and reaching my arm in there, sweeping for small envelopes that don't stand up where I can see them. Short people problems.
    But if I were going to test the system, like you did, I hope I would be smart enough to mail myself a poem.

    1. Yes, short people problems. I have those too! How did you grow such a volleyball player with short people genes?

  3. Awww. I hope you get it back.

  4. The dead letter office. Do you really think there is one? A DLO. Who would work in there anyway? Do dead letters smell or have autopsies? Who opens them and then decides what should happen next?

    Then there are those stories of deceased letter carriers who have been hoarding mail for 20 years in their apartments. What about that mail, huh?

    Or the guy who had to rent another apartment to hold all of his stolen library books.

    Just sign me,

    A concerned citizen

    1. That actually could be a really fun job, the dead letter office, if you get to open everything and figure it out. Maybe hand deliver, go hang out with the people and hear their stories.
      When I was a kid, my mom was pretty convinced that our mailman had murdered his wife (she drowned in the bathtub). And he definitely borrowed our magazines for a week or more at times. Weird.

  5. Betsy, I sent you an email about a week ago ... it appears you aren't getting e-letters either! Just wanted to tell you I noticed on Murr's blog that you had a new post, but it wasn't showing up here. You likely already know that, but ... just in case.


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