So the US Postal Service is on the verge of default. Have you seen this? Have you heard about this? With $5.5 billion owed to various pension funds and an ever-decreasing mail volume only making things worse, those dog-hating shorts-wearing deliverers of good and bad news are facing a pretty epic crisis. The White House is proposing a plan that would give USPS another three months to get their house in order, but no matter what the eventual outcome — jobs cut, Saturday service eliminated, the whole thing just shut down — it won’t be anything but a dramatic overhaul for a longstanding, indispensable American institution.
In some ways the (maybe) death of traditional mail was always bound to happen. Letters, for all their charm and sincerity, take time and effort to compose that today’s harried businessperson has NO TIME FOR. At this point many of us, especially those of us named DJ Steve, have adjusted to digital newspapers and magazines. Then you’ve got bills. Why pay them with pens and stamps and…licking when you can accomplish the same goal with a few keystrokes? Just like mp3s have all but killed physical music, so too did the dawn of email signal the end for its stamped-and-addressed cousin. All things must die. Cue the music!
…Of course it’s highly likely that, in true Congressional nail-biter fashion, the mail system will be saved or at least put on life support at the last minute and we won’t need to convert our mailboxes to compost bins. Which would be nice, because mail is nice. Has anyone in the history of ever (focus on years 1993-present) complained that they like the hand-written note and all, but it would have been a lot better in email form? Doubtful! And if they did, that person’s one of those deliberately contrarian jerks and what are you doing even writing him anyway? Get a better pen pal!
IN SUMMATION: the future is now and the world is changing but hopefully we can hold onto some standbys from the past, because not everything needs to be Back to the Future self-lacing shoes and Dippin’ Dots.