Wednesday, August 06, 2014

return to sender

As many of you know, I have a tendency to let typos slip into my work.  And several of you have been very helpful in calling them to my attention.

Correcting them does matter.  After all, the message conveyed with "brother," instead of "bother," is quite different.  Even though some claim not to see the difference.  I do.  My sainted brother is never a bother.

Apparently, the United States Postal Service has joined the copy editor's union.  Or so it would seem from the sole piece of mail in my postal box yesterday.

About a month ago, I mailed a birthday card to my aunt who lives in Oregon.  Yesterday, it was back in my box with a helpful note from the US Postal Service: "No such address exists."

I have written that address on cards and letters for 40 years.  I knew it existed.  That it stills exists.

Then I saw it.  Rather than writing the street address as "Wasco," I had written "Waco."  Everything else was correct.  Her name.  The house number.  The town.  The state.  Even the zip code. 

But that missing "s" was enough to flummox the ability of our automated and unionized delivery service to determine if there is no "Waco" street, there might possibly be another very similar street name that matches up with the rest of the information on the envelope.

Rather than try a little logic, the postal service shipped it all the way back to Mexico for me to add the errant "s."  Just to prove that I commit writeos as well as typos.

You probably know what I am going to say next.  And you would be correct.  If my aunt had made a similar mistake in my Mexican address, the guys at the local post office here in Melaque would get the envelope to me.

I know that because it has happened.  In fact, I told you about it in post haste.  All three of the postal clerks were in the office when I took my aunt's card back to them.  And we had a good laugh about the difference between the two systems.

The biggest difference, of course, is that I live in a community of 8000 people where the postal employees know the people who live here.  With a name and a city, a piece of mail will find its rightful home.

So, Aunt Naomi, your birthday card is on its way to you.  By the time it gets there, it will have earned enough frequent flyer miles for a trip to Hawaii on Alaska.  But the greetings will still be as warm.

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