When I was a kid, I had pen pals. Loads of them: camp counselors, kids from church that I saw weekly anyway, aunts and uncles, strangers from chain letters. If I knew their address, I wrote them letters on the personalized Looney Tunes stationery I spent my birthday money on. I ran to the mailbox each day the second I heard the mail truck coming down the hill. The mailman would tell me before handing me the mail, “you got one today,” and leave it on top for me.

Now that I’m older and too grown up for frivolous niceties like sending letters to people, I don’t go through the mail. I retrieve it from the mailbox and set it on the counter and Steve rifles through it: bills, ads, Val-pak coupons. Shit, shit, shittier shit (in no particular order). My glossy weekly celebrity rag is the only mail I ever end up looking at.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this:

I haven’t seen a hand-written envelope in ages. But who would be writing me? Oh look – it’s my neighbor right across the street from me. The one with the mailbox right next to mine. How does he know my name? I’ve never talked to him save to borrow his snowblower last Christmas, and I don’t remember being polite enough to introduce myself. It was more like, “It must be nice to have a snow blower. Seeing I’m the only one on the street that doesn’t have one, and I nearly broke my back shoveling a couple days ago, can I use your’s?” The old pity routine is how women get what they want after their youthful beauty fades away.

The mail itself was junk mail. It was probably just hand-written because his printer was on the fritz: what a tease. It was something about leukemia, I don’t know, Steve threw it away. I guess men get what they want by faking hand-written letters once their youthful charm dissolves into grumpiness. Didn’t work on me.

Here’s my contribution: hand me all those letters you are sending all around the neighborhood and I will hand deliver them. Add up the 44¢ x 100 and contribute that $44 from Holly Carter: the good neighbor who doesn’t make postmen work harder for no reason. I can not believe this letter went from his home right across the street from mine, to the mailbox right next to mine, onto a mail truck, to the post office, back onto a mail truck to end up right back where it started except about six inches to the right. I’m going to go put an unstamped envelope in his mailbox with my blog URL to give him a subtle hint of what I think of his hand-written envelope.

P.S. If you knew what this title meant, you are my favorite reader.

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