Art in Small Packages (tf)

Stevens just wrote about stamps. Do they even make stamps anymore? He is quite the hidden Luddite at times, especially when he’s being all famous on TV.

The crap I get in the mail doesn’t have stamps on it. Just some red bar or a written notice saying the people bombing me with junk didn’t have to pay regular postage in order to do so.

I think it should be a law that anybody sending me anything through the mail that I didn’t specifically ask for has to pay me to open it. Even a token amount. Like a dollar.

They keep raising the price of stamps but I haven’t bought one in so long I have no idea what they cost. I do know that the government is going to whack over 100,000 postal employees so maybe they didn’t raise the price enough. The last I remember a stamp cost 29 cents but I think that was 30 years ago or something.

My kids think using a phone for talking is quaint and old-fashioned. I’m not sure they even know what a stamp is. If I told them you used to have to lick stamps to get them to stick they’d think I was mad. Actually, I’m not sure when you stopped having to lick stamps. Does anybody know this crucial piece of information? Has to be a cost-cutting move. Stevens is telling me it has to do with dead horses but I think he’s pulling my leg. He cannot be trusted with such sensitive information. He is, after all, a television star.

Email, texting, video chat, it’s a new world. New rarely means better, but sometimes it does. It’s nice to send an email to someone 1000 miles away and have them reply 5 minutes later. The “Dear John” letter has been transformed. You can be dumped in writing… near real time. And she can attach pics of the guy who replaced you if she feels like twisting the knife a bit.

But still, there’s nothing like receiving a good old-fashioned letter. Handwritten and gossipy and all that. My aunt is pushing 90 and she writes letters all the time. And they’re marvelous. She’s got her own stationery and everything. If somebody sends you a handwritten letter on their own stationery, you know they like you. It’s a good feeling. And a letter lasts. It’s depressing to think you’d need to hack a Yahoo account to gain insight into somebody when they’re dead.

But forget the US mail. We’ve not no time for such niceties these days. We demand an immediate response, spelling and proper grammar be damned. We are too busy to sit at a desk and craft something in longhand. Quicker to use 2 thumbs and send along such profundity as “OMG R U CR8Z?” I think my Aunt would stick a pencil in her retina before resorting to such shorthand.

What has happened to the written word? It is being massacred. Even a spell-checker doesn’t fix the “their/there/they’re” and “to/too” and “your/you’re” dilemma. A peruse through facebook is all you need to know about education in this country. It’s not that people don’t know proper usage, it’s that they don’t really care. “You know what I mean” is what they’ll say when you point out that their latest post contained 15 mis-spelled words. And they’re right. You do know what they mean. But that kinda makes it all the more sad. It’s accepted that people write like crack-addicted baboons…because we’ve adapted. We can decipher gibberish….all in the name of saving time.

And it’s always amusing to me that the very people who haven’t mastered the English language themselves are the ones most likely to get all red white and bluey when they hear a bi-lingual speaking Spanish. When I listen to the Fox News stormtroopers saying people in this country should “all speak American” I feel like digging a hole to Canada.

But, alas, what’s a poor boy to do? My father once saw bad grammar on a box of “Sarah Lee” cake mix. He wrote them a charming, folksy, handwritten letter. With a stamp and all.  The company not only apologized, but fixed the mangled syntax and forwarded him about a 10 year supply of free stuff. Not sure why this is relevant but it surely is and you know it.

Ah, the “know/no” conundrum…

I could go on but you get the idea.

Take a few minutes and write someone a nice letter. And when you put a stamp on it can you let me know what they cost?

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on August 17, 2011.

One Response to “Art in Small Packages (tf)”

  1. luddite 10

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