Thursday, June 30, 2005


I went to the Post Office a few weeks ago and purchased a huge roll of stamps, paying little attention to what I was buying. When I got home, I found that I had in my possession a roll of stamps picturing two doves and proclaiming the word "LOVE" in large print.

Since that time, I have been sending my LOVE to the electric company, the telephone company, the gas company and insurance companies, to say nothing of other, various, sundry bills. And guess what? Not a one of them has written me a reply saying, "We love you, too!" Nope, they just send another monthly bill, like clockwork.

The truth is, I do not love the electric company, the telephone company or any of the other companies to which I mail checks every month. I don't know why the Post Office put me in such a position, forcing me to declare my love for companies that I frequently despise, especially when I am hanging on "Hold" after going through a variety of computerized voices and instructions. It's a little bit embarrassing to put these stamps on the envelopes.

I could have tossed my "LOVE" stamps, but they cost 37 cents each, which is the greater part of a half dollar...and I can remember when they cost three cents. This is inflation, and it is little wonder that the U.S. Post Office claims it doesn't make a profit. Back when stamps were just three cents, I used to mail out a truckload of Christmas cards. So did everyone else. We had an entire wall devoted to Christmas greetings from various acquaintances. The person with the most cards felt a sense of superiority, as though he had more friends than anyone else, was far more lovable, and was the King of Christmas.

No more! I seldom send out Christmas cards any more. When I do, it's usually because I received one and feel I must send one in return. This is not in the true spirit of Christmas, but sometimes I am downright niggardly and don't even believe in Santa Claus, Virginia or no Virginia. Too bad, too, because my LOVE stamps would be very appropriate on Christmas cards, far better than on the electric bill.

So, if the Post Office wants to make a profit, they had better change their ways. Instead of sneaking me a huge pile of LOVE stamps, forcing me to send my high regards to companies I am forced to do business with, they should tap into the wellspring of human feelings. For instance, a stamp called "HATE" might be going too far, so those should be kept under the counter and only brought out when demanded, like pornographic movies. But they could easily print stamps that say "GROWING DISLIKE"...or '' CONTEMPT" or even "UTTER DISGUST".

Thus, when my telephone bill reflects a long list of expensive calls, I could unload my feelings by sending them an "UTTER DISGUST" plastered smack dab at the top of the envelope. They would know, at a glance, what I thought of all those federal and state charges, all those silly little taxes, and charges for this, that and everything!

Then, too, we might need a disdainful "DON'T GIVE A TINKER'S DAMN" stamp, just to have the thrill of pasting that on a gas bill. Sure, we really do give a damn about that rising gas bill, but since there's nothing we can do about it, we may as well have an attitude of cynical aplomb, and our stamp could reflect that mood, just to give us a lift as we lick the envelope.

The HATE stamp could be saved for those times when your car insurance goes up, simply because you have gotten a ticket you naturally did not deserve, or got into that accident that was purely the other fellow's fault. Then, it would be a great catharsis to slam that "HATE" stamp on the envelope, just to show your true feelings at being battered like a football by fate, kicked by metal-toed boots and left bleeding but unbowed. Yes, that stamp would certainly do the trick.

The design for this series of Emotional Stamps could be interesting, too. Just imagine the leering faces and rude gestures that could adorn the stamps. Perhaps a National Contest could be held to create the most fearful and miserable designs, free of profanity, but expressing moods with clarity and imaginative artistry. No smiling faces wanted here! No, our faces must reflect the frustration of daily life, the misery and humiliation of pasting a LOVE Stamp on an exorbitant electric bill.

Frankly, the Emotional Stamps would be quite a change from the LOVE, the floral designs and uplifting features on today's stamps. Who is this smiling optimist, thinking up all these hearts and flowers? Could it be the Postmaster General? And how could "Going Postal" be a common household phrase in a world as tranquil and beautiful as this?

If you agree with my premise, please send me a note. I'll reply immediately....I still have half a roll of LOVE stamps!