Jeff has an adventure while trying to mail a package.
"Good morning, sir, how are you today?"
Great, and you?
"Great, thanks. Just these three?"
Yep, just these three, please.
"Anything in here fragile or liquid?"
"Anything in here perishable?"
Nope. Not sending any ham today.
"That's funny. Anything potentially hazardous?"
Nope. (This is what I say, although, technically speaking, I've found that anything can be "potentially hazardous" if it's fired out of a large enough cannon.)
"Anything fragile or liquid?"
Neither. (This is what I say, although what I'd really like to say is, "It's a vase from the Khang dynasty that I've filled with balsamic vinaigrette."
"Anything flammable. Is there anything flammable in these packages. Fireworks, ammunition, marshmallows, bags of popcorn. Flammable."
"Any animals. Hamsters, lobsters, squid?"
"Squid, sir. Are there any squid in here?"
No, I think I'd know if there was.
"And you're sure there's no liquid."
"Squid live in liquid, you know."
I know where squid live.
"Sir, I need you to swear this package is free of liquids, drinks, dips, dressings, sauces."
Um, positive. This one's an 8.5 x 11 manila envelope, as you can see, so since it's not actually dripping we can probably assume there's no -
"Do you need insurance today?"
No, regular mail would be -
No thanks. (This is what I say, although I can't figure the logic of paying extra for a service that's not only implicit in the original agreement but also the only fathomable reason I'm even in this building. It's like going to a restaurant and having the waiter tell you, "Now, for an extra $6, I can guarantee you'll receive your meal.")
"Would you like insurance? You can insure it up to $100."
See, now here again, if there's some skepticism about this object arriving at the address I wrote on the front of it, I can call -
"No insurance, then?"
"I mean, if you think that's OK …"
Why wouldn't it be OK?
"… to send an uninsured package in today's brutal and uncertain world ..."
"… what with what we're hearing about terrorism, and Obamacare and bears."
Why would bears be -
"I want to go back to the flammable question. You're absolutely positive, swear-on-your-dead-cat sure there's nothing flammable in this box?"
Dude, can I just send the wait how did you know about my cat?
"I need you to tell me, right now, there's nothing flammable in here."
Right, because in this letter-sized manila envelope I'm sending fireworks to my grandmother.
"And you're really just blowing off the insurance, like this isn't a murderous world, like this thing can successfully make it to Indiana all by itself."
Seriously, I just need to send -
"Do you think I'm attractive?"
"Nothing. Did you just ask me if I was attractive? Because I think you did."
Man, I just need this package shipped, why are there so many questions?
"Can I get you some cocoa? Hot cocoa, Fresh pot. Wait, this one doesn't have a Priority Mail sticker on it."
Yeah, I know, I didn't buy a -
"It needs a label."
I wrote the address right on the -
"It needs a label."
OK. Can I get a label?
"You can't get free labels. You can send it Priority Mail, which will get it there in two days for $28.95, or you can buy a label."
"Right behind you. They're two for $2.59."
Can I just buy one?
"Of course not."
"Do you need this covered in fur?"
See, I don't even see how that would -
"Fur protects it from the elements. Also it traps in the moisture."
But there's no moisture to -
"Are there any liquids in here? ARE THERE?"
What? No? God, stop yelling at -
"Do you need any stamps today?"
No, please, can I just go -
No, I'm good, really.
"You're never planning on mailing anything again, ever, for the rest of your life."
Well, someday, but I don't need -
"OK, so you're just here, mailing a package."
Yes, that is all I -
"Why didn't you just say so? Merry Christmas."
Jeff Vrabel says happy holidays to everyone at the post office, because we all know what can happen when there are problems at the post office. He can be reached at http://jeffvrabel.com or followed at http://twitter.com/jeffvrabel.