Yesterday my son and I walked out to the mailbox to check the mail. He is 11. I am 31. I opened the box, put my hand inside, and drew out a stack of envelopes. A political advertisement. An envelope full of coupons. An envelope that contained a big yellow bag I could use to donate things to a veteran's organization. A plain white envelope which looked like a bill.
I put all the items back.
"You're not going to bring them in?" my son asked.
"No." I said. "They're not interesting enough. I only bring interesting mail into our house. Let's leave them in the box until they become more interesting".
"Jeez." he said. "I'm glad I'm not a piece of mail".
"Spencer" I said--my son's name is Spencer too--"I would always bring you in the house if you were a piece of mail. You are one of the most interesting people I know".
He smiled. It was a tender moment.
But that made me think. Maybe I'm being unfair to the mail. Maybe it would be better if the mail knew my standards. I am writing this piece for the mail, so that it may increase its chances of making it into my house.
1) Don't be a bill.
2) Don't be an envelope containing a big yellow bag I could use to donate things to a veteran's organization. It's not that I dislike veterans, it is just that I am very selfish, and rarely engage in such activities.
3) Don't be an envelope full of coupons. It's not that I don't like saving, it is just that I am lazy, and feel restricted by coupon shopping. I think of grocery shopping as an art. If I have decided to buy JIF peanut butter over Peter Pan peanut butter one day, I want it to be in a fit of inspiration, not because JIF is 25 cents off that day.
4) Do not be a bill.
5) Do not look like you might be a bill.
6) Do not be a political advertisement.
7) Do not be from an organization requesting that I join you. I know the organizations I want to belong to, and I am a member of those organizations.
8) Be a magazine. But not just any magazine--be a magazine I am interested in. I subscribe to many magazines, but not all of them get read. You see, I am a very pretentious man. If you want to get into the house, don't be the Economist or the International Socialist Review. Be MAD magazine, or maybe Playboy. If you are a catalog, be Victoria's Secret, or maybe IKEA. I think they have some really neat stuff.
9) Don't contain Anthrax. Neither the deadly poison nor the band will make it into my house.
10) Be a package from Amazon. Even if it is not addressed to me, I will open it. I love getting packages in the mail.
11) Be a movie from Netflix, but not a hoity-toity movie that I ordered because I thought it would give me culture. Be something funny, or maybe a disc from a BBC series. BBC has some really funny shows.
12) Be a piece of my neighbor's mail. I think they're up to something, but I'm not sure what. I will take all the intelligence I can get.
13) Be a long lost letter from my friend Ryan. We were exchanging letters before he died, and I never got the response to the last letter I sent him. I loved him, and I miss him. I think reading his last letter would be very comforting to me.