What In The What?

One of my early childhood dreams was to be a mailman. I say “mailman” because when I was a kid, women were busy being housewives. We did not have “carriers”; we had “men.”

To this day, I can’t explain my attraction to this career path, but if I were to guess, it was probably all of the “hello, how ya doings?” Everyone loved to see him heading down the street.

What was not to love? He was the bearer of cards celebrating special occasions, letters from loved ones, and an occasional check. A celebrity every day.

Don’t get me started on the idle chitchat with folks on the route or an unplanned life-saving event due to mail piling up and actually noticing. I do this now for free.

We’re not going to discuss the bills; they were a given.

I was probably deterred by the rain, snow, and sleet motto, only to find out when writing this essay that it was all a LIE.

The U.S. Postal Service has no official motto. Nope, it’s not this: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” But we certainly appreciate the sentiment.

US Postal Service

No doubt I heard “gloom of night” and said, “I’m out!”

Anyway, fast forward to yesterday when I went to the post office to mail a package containing a book. The book recipient informed me of a book rate that cuts the shipping cost. Who knew? Not me.

However, I was not informed then that an FBI-like interrogation went along with using this discounted rate. Folks, there is always a damn price to pay!

As always, I waited in line for the lone over-worked employee to address me.

Me: I want to mail this box at the book rate, please.

Overworked employee: Is there a book in the box?

Me: Yes

OE: Is there anything else in the box?

Me: No

OE: Is there a card in the box?

Me: No

OE: A letter?

Me: Um, no.

OE: Chocolate?

Me: There’snothing else in the box.

OE: Ok, fine. Can I get you anything else?

Me: Yes, can I get two books of Christmas stamps?

OE: Which ones?

Me: Not the religious ones, the other ones.

OE: The Elves or the Otters?

Me: One of each, please.

OE: You know they’re brown?

Me: What’sbrown?

OE: The Elves.

Me: (Looking at the stamps.) They’re Elves.

OE: Yeah, but they’re brown.

Me: Elves aren’t real.

OE: I know; I’m just saying they’re brown.

Me: So are the Otters.

I got my tracking receipt, turned around to leave, looked into the dead stares of a long line of people, and went my merry way. What in the what?

Enjoy the Ride!

14 responses

  1. She obviously is not enamored of brown elves!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re stamps for godsakes. It was such an odd exchange.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Guess they thought you’re prejudiced against brown elves?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is that even a thing? Haha .. what the heck.


      1. Idk. He REALLY wanted you to know they were brown, though. Like you’d change your mind as soon as he told you that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That thought didn’t register until I got to the car. I couldn’t get past that we were discussing elves, or so I thought.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What! Brown elves???????????? Everyone knows they are white with blue eyes… just like Jesus. I wonder if some people actually returned their Christmas stamps when they discovered – horror of horrors – that the elves were brown. People never cease to surprise me with their crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was like I was hearing the words, but nothing was registering because it was so odd to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So many good lines…love…the elves or the otters?

    You described the average exchange perfectly proving the postal services monosyllabic workers are the same everywhere. Any minute they’ll don their antlers, at least here in Noo Yawk, so when they’re rude, you won’t feel bad for laughing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! Never a dull moment at the Post office.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m going to go get those poor otters who must be feeling pretty shitty. Elves indeed.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved the exchange you shared. I imagine they have a back story for why they keep asking but you didn’t get it. If they stuck their hand in there and there was a tarantula, they probably had some customer who said – what? You never asked me about that!


  6. I’m laughing over here. That conversation would have had me on the floor while all those people stared on.
    Now I am curious how that quote came into being and where it came from.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Below is the explanation: Makes zero sense to me.. lol

    The phrase is taken from an ancient book by the Greek historian Herodotus and refers to messengers in the Persian Empire.

    The phrase comes from book 8, paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus, a Greek historian. During the wars between the Greeks and Persians (500-449 B.C.), the Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers who served with great fidelity.

    The popular belief that Herodotus’s description of the Persian postal service is about the U.S. Postal Service is a tribute to the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have delivered the mail reliably and dependably, through all conditions, for centuries.


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