Just Hit Send

Email has been the death of letter writing and contributed to the problems at the USPS. I went to the post office today and mailed two letters. Actually, they were two belated birthday cards. I don’t recall the last time I mailed, let alone wrote, a real old-fashioned letter. I’m not sure when I last received one, either. I get lots of direct mail touting grocery sales, pizza specials, car bargains, and the like. I also get a ton of printed catalogs featuring everything from cute garden gnomes to world-class educational courses on CD. I get more magazines than I can read. I get printed reminders from our vet about which critter is due for what shot. I get Medicare pamphlets and credit card offers. I get bills (which usually get paid online). I do not get letters. When I was in the Army, mail call was pretty important. Getting a letter from home was a treat and broke up the monotony of cleaning rifles and peeling potatoes. Letters were almost always hand-written, although my mother typed hers on a portable Smith Corona typewriter. My old high-school girlfriend even used scented stationery when she eventually sent me that long-expected “Dear John†letter. When Dad wrote, he did so longhand, and I was never completely certain what all of the words were. I have inherited his handwriting. Despite all the direct mail and magazines, the post office is teetering on the brink of oblivion and I can’t help but think it is because people have stopped writing letters. Today they send email. Emoticons have replaced love and kisses. It’s progress, I guess, but I still fondly recall those patchouli-scented notes of yesteryear, even the kiss-offs.