Monday, December 1, 2008

Snail Mail

There's a scene, repeated throughout the production of A Year of Frog & Toad that Boo just performed in, where three snails are delivering a letter from Frog to Toad. Being snails, they take an entire year to accomplish this. But the letter eventually gets to its intended recipient, and is a key factor in repairing a minor riff in Frog and Toad's friendship.

If the snails are looking for employment in this economy, they might want to put in an application with the USPS distribution center in Southwestern Philadelphia.

According to this article in today's Philadelphia Daily News, the distribution center, which supposedly processes six million pieces of mail annually, has tons of unprocessed mail throughout the facility. I'm not talking a bin or two; it's more along the lines of 2-3 tractor trailers full. Other tractor-trailers of mail were hauled elsewhere, only to return to the "distribution center" several days later. In addition, managers falsified reports on the mail's status and, appallingly, these statistics were used to determine the fate of more than 600 postal workers, who were either transferred or fired.

Yeah, people can probably live without their supermarket circulars or their TV Guides (unless you're Frank Costanza from Seinfeld.) But what about the Mother's Day greetings, the birth announcements, the wedding invitations, the sympathy cards? The photos that might have been sent to a distant relative in a nursing home? What about those letters, like the one being delivered by the snails, that contained an olive branch or had the power to end a riff or longstanding family feud? How many relationships ended, how many people went to their graves without knowing an answer, how many people are still left wondering what happened to ....

Betty's home sick from school today, so one of the tasks I had her do is write her thank you notes from her recent birthday gifts. She did, and might I add that for a 7-year old, they're not too bad. (Some are more well written than others, but in each case she followed my instructions to mention the actual gift and to write a sentence or two about what she did/plans to do with the present or how she felt about it.)

I'd like to think that the recipients will actually get her thank you cards, but since most (if not all) of them could likely pass through that very post office in Philadelphia, I'm wondering.

I think I'd be better off hiring the snails from Frog & Toad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ok, I don't know about Philadephia, but I've always been impressed with the USPS. Call me old-fashioned, but when the mail gets here, I still can't wait to go out and get it even though 99.9% of the time it's bills and junk.
Anyway, I've always been amazed that you can put this tiny stamp on this tiny envelope and boom it goes across the country,or across the world.
Yes, I'm easily amused.

But, I'm off track here.
I worked in a donation mail center of a charity for a while, and we literally went through the trash a couple times a month looking for missed envelopes, and almost always found something. I am sure there were many that just "slipped through the cracks".