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HomeOpinionThe Papa Files: The P.O.B. Consideration

The Papa Files: The P.O.B. Consideration

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For the third time in four years, since we moved into what I call Zoo House (because of all the pets my wife insists on allowing inside) some careless driver has knocked down my mailbox. The first time, not long after our move, it was teens taking the corner too fast. They stopped, and we discussed it, and they bought me a new box. The second time it was an adult who was distracted by his phone. He stopped, we discussed it, and he bought me a new box. This third time happened in the middle of the night. The impact didn’t just knock it down, but snapped the stand and sent the box several yards into the trees. The driver did not stop, and while I appreciate that he didn’t disturb my slumber to let me know, he could have at least left a note on my door telling me what happened and that he’d buy me a new box.

What I don’t understand is why only my box keeps getting hit. I am not a corner house, but one over. So how is it that the first mailbox is never hit? I can only surmise that the laws of physics dictate that when an object going velocity X swerves in a parabola Y it will intersect at point Z (Z being my mailbox.) In other words, the corner box is too close to the beginning of the curve and is therefore bypassed. I suppose.

Note to future self: Always buy a house in a cul-de-sac, or in the middle of a long stretch of speed bump-studded road. I’ve always thought there should at least be bumps at every stop sign.

My friend, Senor Cargador, recommended I install a steel bar embedded in concrete, on top of which I attached the box. Well, I wouldn’t do such a thing. I don’t want anyone to get hurt, or to damage someone’s car. It’s just a mailbox. Same with building an arch of bricks around it. What a mess that would be if someone hit it. And never mind the cost of rebuilding a mini-cathedral around your mailbox, there’s the potential of being sued. No, no, I only ever get the cheapest box I can find. My favorite is the kind I can shove in the ground with my foot. Exwork didn’t have one, so I bought an upgrade, which is similar but required digging two small holes. (What I would love is a popback mailbox, a double hinged, spring-supported box that pops back up when hit. Hey, someone invent that!)

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I don’t mean that I’m okay with having to replace my mailbox every 486 days. If it happens again, I’m seriously considering getting a Post Office Box and getting rid of curbside service. I will, of course, send everyone of importance the new destination for their non-electronic correspondence, and fill out the form for change of address, but will the carrier know what to do; will he be informed? Or would I need to put up a marker-like sign that reads: This address no longer accepts mail. I’ll have to check on that. And if I do or should, I might have some fun with it. I’ll change the sign now and then. For example, I might put one up that reads: This address only accepts mail from Shockandawe, Missouri. Or: Please place mail on the picnic table in the backyard. Or: Please leave all advertisements at the next house. Stuff like that. But no. I can’t imagine the different kinds of trouble I might get in for doing anything like that.

If I had a P.O. Box, I’d only check mail three times a week. We pay bills online, and don’t write to family and friends anymore; it’s texting and calls. And that great and enjoyable (to me) task of getting extra pictures printed from a role of film to send to everyone, has been replaced by the immediate transmission of photos by phone. So there’s no need for stamps, envelopes, and mailboxes. Nowadays, packages are left at the front door.

Still, I’m tempted to do something dastardly. I’d love to put up a fake box, something like waterproofed balsa wood, and fill it with bags of fake blood and rubber body parts, especially teeth and eyeballs. Ah, that would be hilarious, especially if I could film it: an inattentive driver hitting my mailbox and thinking he just splattered someone. Make him keep his eyes on the road! But again, no. He might careen into an adjacent house or ram a tree from his horrified panic.

Nope, I’ll keep my mailbox for now, and continue to fill my recyclable bin with newspaper brochures.

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