Save the Pony Express!

Remember when the mail was delivered by Pony Express? Well, neither do I.

But that’s beside the point. Friends, the United States Postal Service is in dire straights, and it’s been coming on for some time. Which is why there’s no way around it, but to enlist your help.

Yep, it looks like it’s going to be up to us to save the U.S. Postal Service from becoming the next dinosaur. And I’m not referring to those prehistoric creatures from the Fred Flintstone era.  I’m talking dinosaur as in the LP record, the iceman cometh, go-go boots, and, of course, the most recent addition to the extinction list: Blockbuster Video stores.

No doubt, you’ve read the news that, in order to survive, as well as save money, the post office last year appealed to Congress to eliminate Saturday delivery—and, frankly, the way we use postal service, would anyone really have noticed if there was no mail on Saturdays?

But Congress won’t allow them to save money that way. I imagine it’s because they’re waiting for a big, fat check from their bookie, the proceeds of a bet they won by questionable means. Or maybe they just want to see how many times they can make the postman always ring twice.

Sans congress’ aid, it’s up to us to save the postal service. One letter at a time. Which is why I’m working on an entirely new marketing campaign for them, coming to a mailbox near you, assuming you still have one and know how to use it. Drumroll, please! The slogan is:

Let’s Go Retro!

 Yes, it’s time to turn back the clock and quit relying on the Internet for all your communication and product-ordering, and bill-paying needs. Instead, it’s time to start spreading the news and go retro!

What exactly does this mean?

It means doing your part, and mailing something—anything—instead of relying on the ease of the web. For example:

Instead of emailing your mother to see if she has time to do your laundry this weekend, send her a letter. Like your mother always said, “Lick it, put a stamp on it, and send it to someone who cares.” Even if she does live down the block. She remembers what it’s like to receive letters and will be thrilled to get yours.

And while you’re at it, consider putting more postage on your letter than necessary. That way the postal service will make a profit and the extra funds will help their bottom line.

This U.S. Postal worker wants you to save the postal service from extinction.

Request a catalog via mail, from your favorite retailer, rather than perusing their products online.

And speaking of catalogs, let’s bring back the Sears catalog, and the Spiegel one, too, for that matter. These catalogs were once nice and thick, sure to cost a pretty penny to mail. Plus, they’re filled with oodles and oodles of  products waiting to be delivered–via snailmail–to your home. Isn’t it time you ordered a Princess telephone for your cousin, Lulu?

Instead of text messaging your friend, Pierre, about going to a movie tonight, drop him a line about seeing one next week or the week after. What? Can’t you plan ahead just once? Sure, it’s not as impromptu, but that’s not the point. Your goal is to help the post office, not make things more convenient for yourself.

Did you borrow some eggs and a cup of sugar from your neighbor, Daisy, to make your favorite brownie recipe? Well, don’t go knocking on her door to replace said borrowed items. Put the eggs and sugar in a shoebox, wrap it up and mail it. And, it’s okay to save money by sending the package via bulk mail. Daisy will get it in a week or two, and be most appreciative that you remembered to return the items at all.

Did Uncle Harry give you a chainsaw for your birthday, and it turns out you already owned one? Pop it in the mail and return it to him. Remember to write on the package, “Chainsaw enclosed, do not bend.” This way, the post office won’t wonder why the box is so heavy and rattling.

Instead of “Liking” all your favorite organizations and products on Facebook, write them each a long letter, describing in detail just how much they have made your life more fulfilling as a result of having them in it. I’m sure Doritos and Home Depot will be eternally grateful.

Planning to place an order for a pair of shoes on Zappos? Print an order form and mail it with a check, instead of ordering directly through their website. This is a win-win, for, not only are you helping the post office, but doing it this way will also help you avoid credit card fraud.

These are just a few ideas. If you have any suggestions for saving the post office, please leave a comment below. Better yet, leave the comment, print it, then mail it, c/o WordPress.

Remember, friends, we are in serious danger of losing this bastion of our society: The United States Postal Service. And you know what they say.

It takes a village to raise a child—and a gazillion villages to save the U.S. mail!

Clowns Gone Postal

Friends, the saga continues. It pains me to tell you, but I can hide it no longer. There is a clown in my psyche screaming to get out.

I know this because I have uncovered something, which is more ghastly than the birthday greeting card I received for my sixth birthday.  There’s no easy way to say this, so I will let you see for yourself. After all, one picture is worth a thousand words. Or in this case, three pictures.

Exhibit B

Exhibit A









Yes, I am secretly obsessed with clowns.  So hush-hush is my obsession that even I did not know about it.  I have been deluding myself and now I am coming clean.  Apparently, as a child, I’d draw these pictures of clowns over and over. Incessantly. Ad nauseam. And these are just the tip of the iceberg.  What does it mean? I wish I knew.

I rest my case.

Which brings me to the latest clown terror in my life. I’m talking about the creepy, maniacal toy clown, that has firmly planted its over-sized clown feet, smack in the middle of our pop culture. It’s a toy clown gone postal! And we can thank the United States Postal Service and its ad agency for this addition to our collective consciousness.

The U.S. Postal Service clown. Could anything be scarier?

In the words of Johnny Depp, “Something about the painted face, the fake smile. There always seemed to be a darkness lurking just under the surface, a potential for real evil.”

Well said, Johnny. Well said.  But Mr. Depp wasn’t referring to the toy clown in the Postal Service commercial. According to a blog post, Top 10: Scary Clowns of All Time, he once shared this insight in an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle. But, if you ask me, he might as well have been talking about this particular clown gone postal.

For the few who haven’t seen this commercial, in it, an unassuming family of four has just returned home to find an ominous toy clown on their living room floor—apparently the result of an online purchase gone awry. Too afraid to go inside the house, they talk to a mailman about how to get rid of it.  Each time the camera pans back to the clown, it has mysteriously moved closer to the family, ultimately terrorizing all, even the hapless mailman.

The Postal Service commercial is frightening, and yet I find myself obsessively drawn to it each time it airs. Perhaps I’m hoping for a different ending, one where the toy is vanquished.  Whatever the reason, this shocking commercial rattles even the hardiest of psyches. It should only be played late at night when little children are asleep. Because the next thing you know, they’ll be drawing pictures of clowns. Again and again.  Ad nauseam. It’s a vicious cycle.

So maybe I’m obsessed with clowns. Maybe there’s a clown inside me, screaming till its curly orange hair stands on end. If so, I take solace in knowing that I am not alone in my phobia. There’s a website, and a Facebook page called “i hate clowns”—with 6,670 people who “like” it, including myself. Our fear has a name: coulrophobia, which means, a persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of clowns. Unwarranted? I don’t think so. We coulrophobia-sufferers know better.