by Regis Boff
I found my mailbox in the rain this morning lying flat on the ground with a few letters sagging out of its dislodged jaw like white stamped swollen tongues . I understood quickly by examining the crime scene that it was done by teenage boys. Desecrating private property in the dark is a rite of passage crime for teenagers, generally boy teenagers. I am not certain what the equivalent criminal activity is for girl teenagers, maybe stealing each other’s boyfriends.
So I hold no real grudges about my mailbox and am i glad to be of service to their growth spurt.But I have to admit I am unnerved when my mailbox is not functional. I suppose my disorientation would be how my children react to our internet connection going down.
A methodical study of the mailboxes on any street will reveal nearly everything worth understanding about their owner’s human condition. Try this on your own street and you will see. We have mailboxes so ornate and expensive that they are clearly earmarked for mausoleum duty when their owners forever stop receiving mail. We have boxes so unpretentious that they give the impression they don’t deserve to even get mail. Then there are the bathtub size boxes eagerly waiting the delivery of building materials and the Civil War Veteran’s mailboxes left as “crippled” baring the scars caused by kids with baseball bats over the years but never offered repair,”lest we forget.”
We have the “Pharaoh’s” boxes whose posts carry so much hieroglyphical information about the property owner that they look like a status page on a girl’s Facebook page.
My mailbox-less day, today, leaves me somehow erased . I am dreading my new box when it arrives like a transplanted high school kid entering a new and unfamiliar school system. I have taken to parking my car at the end of my driveway so people will see it and have some idea who I am during this amputated interim. I have lost my smug superciliousness for my neighbor whose spouse serially knocks down his mailbox when she backs out their driveway. My neighbors are treating me like a widower, unable, out of pity to make eye contact with me. My mail carrier lays my mail on the ground like flowers.