Note: This column appears in the 11/17 issue of The Glendale Star and the 11/18 issue of the Peoria Times
I recently purchased stamps at the post office. This somehow caused a minor argument between my wife and I.
You see, I did not specify what type of stamps when I verbalized my order of “Stamps, please,” and thus I received “forever” stamps. A few years ago, when the post office was raising its rates every two weeks, I intentionally purchased several books of forever stamps at the market price, confident that in 2041, when envelope postage is a robust $2.90, we will be laughing all the way to the bank, retroactively profiting from what few envelopes we actually send out, as everything by then will be communicated telepathically. This is, of course, assuming we have not lost our forever stamps.
Anyway, the reason I had purchased stamps was because we were out of them and had a few items that required mailing, which is the most exciting sentence I have ever written. My wife, however, upon discovering the new stamps I had purchased were forever stamps, refused to use them in this, the year 2011, and instead demanded I add them to our present stash of forever stamps in the fireproof box that also includes our passports and a $50 Michael Jordan basketball card, which is my sole contribution to our retirement fund.
I disagreed, arguing that it didn’t matter they were forever stamps, as I could simply use them as regular stamps for now and if some impending rate hike were revealed, I could easily purchase additional forever stamps then. The cost of gas alone to go back to the post office was not worth the investment. Well, you can guess who emerged victorious from this battle of wills. I debated secretly mailing out items with the forever stamps anyway, but figured if she found out, which she undoubtedly would, it would cause a much larger argument about stamps, but really about trust, which I simply wasn’t ready for.
So I went back to the post office. Luckily, my previous order was not extensive, but this time I intended to not return to the post office for at least six years, so I bought an entire roll of stamps. I also decided I better get Christmas stamps then, too. I asked the postal employee if the holiday stamps were in, and he pointed to a display in the far corner of the room that I could not have seen with a telescope, and I worried if I went over there to browse, he would have called up the next person on line and I would be there for another 20 minutes. So I asked, “Do you have any religious holiday stamps?”
His response was, “Pfft. Depends what religion you are.” Frustrated with myself for saying holiday instead of “Christmas”—although I’m sure his response would have been the same—and frustrated with how political correctness has hijacked religious observance, I was tempted to tell him I was a Scientologist looking for stamps honoring evergreen trees. But I didn’t want to offend a government worker.
I spent almost $100 on stamps. Although I had hoped to avoid the post office for several years as a result, I am sure I’ll be back again when they raise their rates to purchase stamps that account for the difference. Even though we will be swimming in forever stamps, I highly doubt there will be a time when my wife will find it fiscally appropriate to use them, and so for us, their very description will ring true. We will have them … forever.