Don’t Open the Mail

You’d think I’d know better by now. Little can ruin a great mood for me better than my mail. Granted, I once thought getting mail was the awesomest thing in the world. For example, when I was in college I just died inside if I didn’t get something other than campus memos in my box. Sometimes I would get letters from home. Other times letters from my grandparents. Dear John. Hope all is well. Love you and proud of you. Here’s a little extra spending money. I love this mail thing!

Then I got a little older and off on my own. First job. Independent life. Pretty cool, right? I still stepped with vigor on my way to the apartment complex mailbox. Would there be any mail today? What did I get? More cash from my grandparents? Huh? But white envelopes with transparent boxes on the front started showing up. Electricity due. Pay now. Cable due. Pay now. Bummer. But at least they only came once a month.

Gradually, trips to the mailbox became less and less exciting. Bill due. Pay now. And then Bill due. Pay now. And then Bill due. Pay now. And finally, Jury Duty. Show up here. Eventually I stopped checking my mail every day. I swear I even started hearing sinister chuckles coming from my mailbox. Ever-so-faint. But o-so-sinister. “I don’t like you,” I said to the messenger of doom one day. It just stared back at me with that tarnished silver expression and raised its raggedy red right arm in salute. Et tu, mi fallen amigo. Et tu.

Mailboxes have a funny way of getting into your head. Ever noticed that? If you’re waiting for good news — like a check — the box seems like a beacon of good hope. But if you check it, you also know that a bill is likely to greet you when you lower the door. It’s such a mixture of emotion.

Why go on such a diatribe against the dastardly deeds of the deliverer of darkness? Err… my mailbox? Let’s just say I was having a great evening. Spiritually high, emotionally satisfied, physically… well, not too great but still standing. I was praying and talking out loud with the Lord and myself (weird, I know) while I took the trash cans to the curb. That was when I heard it. Hehehehehe… a small rectangular voice came from across the street. I recognized its vile vibes immediately. Many a times I have walked into its trap. Many of times I have fallen prey to its schemes. Not this time. No sir! I’m going back inside where it’s safe. Tomorrow I’ll get my… wait a minute. What is that white protrusion from inside my mailbox? Looks like a bundle of stuff in there. Could be important. Maybe something for my new business. I should check it. No, I shouldn’t. Yeah, I should. But it might be… Quiet self! What harm could it do? It’s probably just sales ads. I’ll just go grab it….

Need I say more?

Well, the bottom line is that I knew better. And that I wish I would come across a small fortune. So I could get me a new mailbox. A kinder, gentler mailbox. With a conscience.

— John

P.S. — My parents said someone ran over their mailbox fairly recently. I think I know why…