Saturday, October 5, 2013

Please, please, please wait a minute Mr. Postman

Today’s tale takes “going postal” to a whole new level. However, before I can tell you that part of the story, I have to tell you this part first. You see… a couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine’s dad suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly passed away in Florida. In less than a ten day period of time, my friend got the phone call, hopped a flight, drove to the hospital, and lived in a waiting room or by his father’s side until the decision was made to end life support. 

Having lost my own dad, I know how awful the whole experience can be. That's why, when my friend returned home to the Mid-West, we went to lunch so I could see how he was doing. As expected, we spent as much of the conversation laughing as we did crying; then, after an hour or two, we hugged our good-byes and he said, “Wish me luck. I’m off to the Post Office to get my dad.” Yes. Really.

Now, please believe me when I tell you that Mark Twain was right, “Reality is stranger than fiction because, unlike the truth, fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities.” And since there’s NO delicate way to say this, and my friend gave me the OK to share it on mkromd, I’ll simply be candid. His father’s ashes were sent to his neighbor’s house by accident. For one minute, imagine that you’re the guy who lives next door, and the mailman asks you to sign for a package… from a crematorium… that CANNOT be returned to sender… since that would be God.  

Because I don’t have a filter, when he told me that, I literally burst out laughing (which, thankfully, made him do the same). I mean, really… when a child loses a parent, it’s a tragedy; but, when the United States Postal Service does it, it’s just careless. That said, he told me everyone was GREAT about it. Maybe since all’s well that ends well, on the drive home, I found myself saying, “Self, if that’s going to happen to ANYONE, it’s going to happen to you. You’re going to die, and instead of DB getting your ashes and you meeting your Maker, you’re going to spend eternity in a Post Office. Seriously, if you thought mailing a package at Christmas was Hell, you haven’t seen anything yet.”

And that would be the BEST case scenario. What if they mail me First Class, with adequate postage (though I’m sure I wouldn’t weigh as much as they think I do), and I get delivered to some freak’s house who keeps me in a jar in his bathroom. You don’t know. Strange shit happens in suburbia. It does. And then, imagine if THAT person dies and bequeaths me to HIS kids, and so on and so forth until my remains become like the Elephant Man’s. I’ll be trapped in limbo screaming, “I am not an animal!”

At said moment, I realized that perhaps I’m the suburban freak people talk about, because I ACTUALLY wondered… what if I chose to have myself anonymously shipped to someone instead. What if I paid extra, and the crematorium put me in a pretty box, gift wrapped me, held me until the holidays, then mailed me like the ghost of Christmas present. That’s right, she who laughs last laughs hardest.   

And, just because it’s important to plan the work and work the plan, I logged onto FedEx’s and UPS’s websites. Neither will allow you to ship human remains. Only the United States Postal Service can do it. In other words, neither rain, nor sleet, nor hail will stop them from delivering you… to the wrong house. And to my friend who is reading this, I sincerely hope you laughed, if only for a little. To everyone else, talk to you later.


  1. I suddenly feel like you might really get in the last Christmas present laugh after all. I'm no longer sure that I care to survive you...

    1. That's right, Joely Bear... my ashes and our *twelve* year old fruit cake. Happy holidays, sweetie. Happy holidays.

  2. Ah, I'm so sorry for your friend's loss. And I'm glad to hear everyone was nice about the mix-up.

    I also hope this little bit of levity lightened his loss some. Smiling through the tears can sometimes help the healing.

    1. As always, you're a complete sweetheart. To your point, as soon as my friend read it, he texted that he laughed, which totally made my day. You're also right about the rest... smiling through tears helps. Plus, he's taking it one day at a time, which is the only way to do it. You know?