Outside of Christmas and birthdays, there are few moments of genuine joyful anticipation for most kids that can top waiting on the mailman to deliver a package.
Whether the package in question is a gift from a grandparent, an eagerly awaited toy or even a favorite magazine or comic book, there’s nothing like the excitement of checking the mail, sometimes for days or weeks, and finally — finally — receiving what you’ve been waiting for.
As a matter of fact, sometimes the anticipation tops the actual item that’s delivered. Remember that classic “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip series about the propeller beanie?
That’s why I love the U.S. Postal Service, better known as the post office, and its mailmen — more accurately known as letter carriers and postmasters and other postal workers.
And that’s why it makes me sad that the Postal Service is struggling right now.
There’s a good Associated Press story that sums up the problems facing USPS right now, including declining use of what some derisively call “snail mail” as well as $5.5 billion a year that the organization must set aside for retiree medical costs.
If the Postal Service doesn’t somehow make enough money to cover that expense, it could shut down.
So USPS is considering cutting staffing, closing some post offices and eliminating Saturday delivery. Workforce cutbacks take their toll on any company or organization, without a doubt. Closing post offices not only pose inconveniences for customers but take away a sense of identity for many small towns. Saturday delivery is great but seems the most expendable.
Whatever happens, I hope they work it out. With email and online transactions, we do a lot less mailing than we used to. But our household still gets a steady stream of print magazines, packages and important mail that we can’t live without.
Maybe none of it can match, in pure joy, the mailings and packages I received in my youth: Items purchased from Captain Company ads in Famous Monsters magazine, X-Ray Specs from comic book ads and my Merry Marvel Marching Society membership package.
But the mail is still welcome in our household. More than welcome. Necessary.