For those of you still going to the post office and buying/selecting stamps, this column is for you (and for others too, with a memory of such tasks).
Since I am among a dwindling number of those who actually affix their own stamps and mail their own correspondence (bills, birthday cards and miscellaneous other such hard copies), rather than bill-pay online, greet electronically or text incessantly, I may be writing uphill here. (Remember readers, parking is almost always free at the post office). Nevertheless, I will continue trudging on.
Like many of my generation, I've been accustomed to having my hands wrapped around, or placed in proximity to, that which I'm reading, writing or "'rithmeticking" (tactile you might say). And in the course of such endeavors, doing so with a pen in hand rather than with opposing thumbs side-saddling a device.
In so doing, I am regularly buying stamps – myself – and selecting from a variety of seasonal, promotional and "commemorational" (I make up words, like my father did; "surgerize" and "confliction" being two of his favorites) offerings. However, I am not "philatelic" in the least. In the most, I am a buyer and a sticker. Not a collector at all.
To that end, I am merely at the post office to justify my means: mailing my correspondence/parcels in a timely and efficient manner. Other than Christmas stamps my wife, Dina, will request that I buy, I care very little about the particular stamp/book that I purchase.
In fact, you could call me a stamp-contrarian (among other descriptions, I'm sure).
What I typically say in response to the post office clerk's question about my stamp preference is: "Give me the stamps on top (as they flip through their stamp booklet)," or "Whatever you're tired of looking/wanting to get rid of." And generally speaking, they're happy to comply, as you might imagine, giggling a bit as they hand over the stamps.
When I'm given the stamps, often I'll make a casual comment about their look and then "Exit stage, left," (to quote Snagglepuss, the most famous cartoon cougar from the Yogi Bear Show of the 1960s). Never, ever, will I return/replace them. I will use them and not think once, let alone twice, about them. In fact, I prefer to use the stamps most out of favor, most inappropriate to the time (Christmas stamps in July, as an example; and I jokingly always ask for a discount) and most undesirable (apparently, to the stamp-buying public). It pleases me to be the user of these "undesirables" until yesterday, that is (or should that be was?).
I went to my local post office. Stood in line. Approached the counter when called and then made my usual/per-this-column request. I received my first class stamps, and while barely taking notice of them, affixed them to my envelopes and "slotted" them in the outgoing mail. I then walked out to my car, opened the door and as I sat down, tossed the remaining stamps in my car's auxiliary tray.
That's when I actually took notice of them and "Heavens to Murgatroyd," realized what I had done/purchased. I had bought and then used "Love" stamps on two bill-payment envelopes. Can you imagine?
Hardly would I want to impart that message in a communication with VISA. I mean, it wasn't exactly a wedding invitation. Quite the opposite. It was more like a divorce, if anything, and love definitely wasn't in the air.
Unfortunately for me though, it was on the envelope.
"What do you say to that? What do you say to that?" (I learned while going online that, amazingly/coincidentally, Snagglepuss and I have the same birthday.)