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Column: A case of ‘No mail is good mail’

As the controversy rages over whether or not the U.S. mail should or should not deliver mail on Saturday in order to cut operating costs, I have yet another opinion. This opinion is based on two letters which I have received in the near past. Based on those letters, how about if we cancel mail delivery altogether?

Not too long ago, I signed up for Social Security and, of course, Medicare. The process wasn’t any fun, but it wasn’t too bad. Social Security itself is so huge an organization that it’s scary. It’s scary that they may or may not have any money, much less mine. Sure, after a lifetime of paying into it, what’s mine should be in there somewhere. Nevertheless, the nagging thought always exists: what if they don’t have any money, or don’t know who you are? Never heard of you. Nope. No money here for you.

That didn’t happen. Whew. Got all signed up. Got a letter confirming the telephone conversation’s details. But three months went by, no money. Then one day, in the mail, came a letter from the Social Security folks, and it said, more or less: Dear sir; Since you have cancelled your Social Security agreement, blah, blah, blah, there are no checks coming to you.

What? I called the local office. Got an answering machine that, regardless of whether or not I existed, seemed programmed to keep someone who doesn’t exist from talking to anyone.

Finally, a couple of days later, someone called me back. Upon me telling them about the letter I got cancelling my Social Security, the person said, “Well, that’s impossible.”

Don’t you just love it when you have the evidence of some petty functionary’s screw-up in your hand, and someone tells you that you don’t?

“Look,” I said – and remember, I’m thinking I’m going to be the only American citizen ever to have been lost by Social Security – “I have the letter in my hand.”

“No you don’t,” said the voice. “I’m looking at your file right now, and your first payment is coming next Thursday.”

“What about this letter?”

The voice said, “Throw it away.”

You know what I think? I think the Social Security people do this to all older folks just as they sign up, hoping to trigger a major heart attack, in which case they can keep the money.

That’s a letter I didn’t need.

Another one came about a ditching project somewhere around New York Mills, which is built mainly on a swamp. I live five miles south of town. I kept getting mail all last fall about the cost of this. I’m thinking, since it’s that far away, I’m free of any costs.

Uh, uh. Got the bill yesterday. Sure, only 26 bucks, but that’s not the point. The point is, Mills is on the continental divide. Water north of it flows north; south, it flows south. Here’s what I’d like to do: Call someone and say, “Look, I live south of that ditch, five miles. My water, if it flowed anywhere – which it doesn’t, it sits in potholes – would flow away from your ditch.

Why am I paying?”

But these are the same government people as those above, just bunched up in a different place, maybe, but still full of the same meeting-loving, tax-dollar-spending, discussion-prone, common-sense-lacking people that government seems to be full of.

So I’m not going to waste my time pointing out the obvious and commonsense impossibility of my water having anything to do with a ditch five miles north of here.

Instead, cancel all my mail. Not just Saturday, all of it.

Alan "Lindy" Linda, The Prairie Spy