Going Postal


I’ve been around the block enough times to know that if you tell the whole world that you have an irrational fear of something, the whole world will use it to scare the button off your belly. I actually conducted an experiment along this line a couple of years ago by sharing on Facebook that I was deathly afraid of spiders. The first few times someone slipped a picture of one on my wall or mentioned it to me, I’d pretend to be freaked out and do the keyboard equivalent of screaming (you know, AAARRRGGGHHH!!!). This only made things worse, or at least it would have if I really did harbor a phobia about spiders. Even by making this admission, my friends will never stop with the spider thing, because they’re already convinced that I’m just trying to get them to stop. One little experiment and I’ll always be known as that guy who hates spiders. That’s ok. I eat spiders for breakfast. But if you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll tell you what I’m REALLY afraid of. Promise you’ll keep it to yourself? I believe you. I’m secretly terrified of the Post Office.

You won’t find my particular irrational fear in an old edition of “Psychological Freaks” magazine. It doesn’t even register on the phobia Richter scale, because as far as I know, I’m the only human being alive who has it. I mean, who’s afraid of the Post Office, right? MEEEE! I’m sitting here having to squeeze my butt cheeks together because my IBS just jumped into overdrive; my hair is on end (quite the feat since my hair is about two feet long – I look like the world’s biggest paint brush) and I’m sweating like a china plate in a bull store. If I were any more nervous, I’d have – hold on, be right back…

Boy, that was close. Ok, I think I at least owe you an explanation (no, not about my explosive nervous bowels). There isn’t anything about the Post Office that doesn’t make my skin crawl and want to take a box cutter to my wrists. First of all, they’ve always got their own special little building, and you can’t go anywhere but the lobby. Listen to this frightening fact: you can’t even go to the bathroom at the Post Office! I can’t tell you how many times my IBS has caused unmentionable embarrassment while waiting in line. All you see are the stern-faced-uniform-wearing-no-sense-of-humor-whatsoever-must-be-hiding-a-shotgun-under-the-counter counter clerks screaming “NEXT!” Every Post Office I’ve been forced to enter always had at least forty or sixty stations, but there are never more than two of them open at any given time. I don’t care if the line is all the way to Timbuktu, they’re not going to open another one up. Makes me feel like cattle going to the slaughter. I can hear the Postmaster General (by the way, does it bother anyone else that the Post Office has a frickin General? What do they plan on attacking, if it isn’t us?), I can hear him say to his Aide-de-Camp “Keep those civilians in a single line in case we have to shoot ’em. We can pick ’em off from the back to the front like we’re hunting turkeys.” All we see are those angry clerks, but you know there has to be at least a few hundred more just waiting back there for someone to get out of line. Whenever it’s my turn, I crawl up to the one who screamed at me on my rubbery hands and knees and do my best to communicate my reason for being there. They never believe me anyway, so I say things like “Can I ship a jellyfish without bubble wrap?” and “I bet you have comfortable shoes,” and “May I have some paper towels? I’m afraid I crapped all over your lobby.” Believe me, those guys are never amused.

I’ve tried looking through the holes where you’re suppose to drop your mail – you know, there’s one for local and one for anywhere else in the world except local – to see if I could spot any mail soldiers getting ready to go postal. Think about it. If those postal postal guys are capable of shooting up their own base of operation, imagine how much they hate the outside world! I can never see anyone, though, because they make those chutes so that you can’t view anything but the threat of your own doom. The Post Office lobby always has row upon row of those metal doors with little tiny windows staring at anyone wandering around. If you want you can rent one (they don’t have renter’s insurance, either, those tyrants) and then once a day you have to go pick up your mail from there. If you miss one single day you’ll get that dreaded pale green notice telling you to go to the counter so they can scream at you over and over again until your IBS kicks up and you have to run away with your hands between your legs. No, don’t EVER get one of those little PO Boxes because they’ll pretty much own you then.

Have you ever seen those ten most wanted papers at the Post Office? Those jokers look so dangerous I bet they’re postal employees who have gone AWOL. Any place that warrants a Postmaster General must be pretty tough. The worst thing about them is that they know where you live!!! I’m sure one of these days my doorbell will chime and on the other side of my flimsy screen door will be three or four of those most wanted thugs demanding extra postage or else.

Yep, the whole postal system just freaks me out. Thank GOD for email! Wait. Who delivers emails? It couldn’t be. You’ve got to kidding – oh no, gotta go, feeling like I’ve got to…

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