Call it emailer's remorse, but I feel partially responsible for the U.S. Postal Service's billions of dollars in annual losses, especially since it may now result in the closing of a post office in my hometown.
Yet I will carry on, like any real American, and blame the messenger.
A few Aprils ago, I stood in line with dozens of others to send our long forms and short hairs to the Internal Revenue Service. Behind the counter, a clerk became increasingly frustrated with explaining the difference between certified mail, registered mail and delivery confirmation to every single person who came up to her.
"When was the last time a letter you sent got lost?" she finally let loose to one patron. "It's going to get there. It gets there every other day of the year. Why do you think it's not going to get there today?"
The only such incident I recalled in my life was about 10 years earlier when a friend of mine never received a Christmas package I sent. I had addressed it to her house, so it was possible the mail carrier left it on her doorstep and a gang of seasonal thieves snatched it before she got home from work. All I need to prove that theory is to find a medium-build female crook wearing a powder blue "What the Duck?" novelty T-shirt while using a Signals' catalog star scope to locate the constellation Corona Borealis (literally, "boring Mexican beer").
Once I tried to frame the mail service. I told a college girlfriend I was trying to break up with over the summer that her letter to me never arrived. Turns out she knew something about postal operations and had the delivery traced to my mailbox.
We dated for another five months.
Meanwhile, back at the counter, here was an obviously loyal Postal Service worker -- one who believed in the competency and efficiency of her employer -- actually trying to talk people out of giving her employer money it desperately needed.
You had to admire her honesty if not her total lack of business savvy.
When my turn came, naturally she was my clerk.
"You've convinced me," I said. "Mail these tax forms and my check first-class, period. I trust you."
"That's what I'm talking about, baby," she said.
Then she asked if I wanted to purchase the latest commemorative stamp sheet of dead people.
I regretfully declined her offer, but today it has me thinking.
What else can the Postal Service do in its hour of need besides try to convince people to pay for services they usually don't need?
That's right: Capitalize on financially lucrative children's fads.
I don't know a single person who collects stamps, but the Things are always hounding me for the latest trendy "collectible" that they'll discard in six months.
WebKinz stuffed animals, then the WebKinz archrival, the NeoPets.
Pokemon cards and Bakugan tops.
Briefly, it was Silly Bandz, which are colorful rubber bracelets in the shape of animals or objects -- one of which, naturally, is a dollar sign. We have a few thousand of these regularly clogging up vacuum cleaners and plumbing (usually the dog’s).
Whatever the next Pet Rock is, the U.S. Postmaster General immediately needs to put its likeness onto postage stamps. Cha-CHING! Instant revenue in the USPS's coffers as parents and grandparents must fork it over or face ear-splitting tantrums.
Also, just think of the economic ripple effect it will have on our country's ailing tweezers and magnifying glass industries.