This post continues the Top Ten Things Not to Do with a historical backdrop. This week marks the anniversary of the founding of the postal service in 1792. If you have access to a time travel machine, please take this list with you should you land in 1792. It might help avoid some embarrassment if you end up at the first post office.
Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Founding of the Postal Service in 1792.
10 If you are at the founding of the Postal Service, do not ask for a roll of stamps. If you do, at best the clerk will be confused. At worst, they will think you are joking with a Federal employee. (Since stamps were not introduced until 1847, you are now involved in a controversy, Greggory. Fooling with a Federal Employee carries a $100.00 fine and ten days in jail or both.)
9 If you are at the founding of the postal service, do not yell at Tiny the WWF champ who is working at the postal service to pay off his assault and battery fine. If you do, at best Tiny will have taken his medication. At worst, Tiny is the first recorded episode of an employee “going postal.” (Now you’ve done it, Gregos. You’ve been the reason for the creation of a whole new verb. Countless Postal employees will curse your name from this time on.)
8 If you are at the founding of the postal service, do not lie to the clerk about the contents of your package. If you do, at best no one will be any the wiser. At worst, your package has been randomly chosen for inspection. (Funny how those twelve unpaid for letters got into that shipment of socks isn’t it? Grigory? You’ll need a bag of pence to rectify this situation.)
7 If you are at the founding of the postal service, do not mark your package fragile. If you do, at best it will be handled carefully. At worst, the word will be a challenge to all handlers to see how well you packed your item. (I guess the recipient of your package was quite surprised to receive a present of ground glass for their birthday, Gualtiero. You could tell them that it is a do it yourself crystal vase hobby kit.)
6 If you are at the founding of the postal service, do not mark your letter “air mail.” If you do, at best the clerk will think you have nothing in the envelope. At worst, your letter will end up on Ben Franklin’s desk since it is assumed his experiments with kites have something to do with your correspondence. (In this case, Gunny your private love note has been published in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper to the delight of hundreds. Good thing you didn’t sign it.)
5 if you are at the founding of the postal service, do not ring that little bell under the sign that says ‘ring bell for service.’ If you do, at best no one will come anyway. At worst, you’ll be facing a clerk who was just having a sandwich in the back. (That white linen envelope you carefully picked out to deliver your valentine is now decorated with a mustard thumbprint, Gustavus. Best not say anything.)
4 If you are at the founding of the postal service, do not stare at the person looking at all the fugitive wanted posters. If you do, at best they are only curious. At worst, they are wanted for robbery and murder and are checking to see if there are any posters on them. (Try to look away quickly, Gwallter. Making eye contact with that person will be hazardous to your health. Oops too late.)
3 If you are at the founding of the postal service, do not take the quill pen at the desk. If you do, at best you can call it an accident. At worst, the clerk will alert the sheriff that you have stolen government property. (What a beautiful mess. If only there had been a chain on that quill, Gwernach. Oh well, ten years at hard labor will pass quickly.)
2 If you are at the founding of the postal service, do not moan out loud at the unusually long time it seems to take to serve the ten patrons in line ahead of you. If you do, at best everyone will think you have a toothache. At worst, your displeasure will be met with increased slowness on the part of the patrons and clerk. (The guy at the counter is asking the clerk for directions to Plymouth for heaven’s sake. You should have kept quiet, Gwyn.)
1 If you are at the founding of the postal service, do not attempt to mail an oversized package. If you do, at best the clerk will tell you to go away. At worst, you will be advised to read the rules and regulations of acceptable package dimensions. (If you are incredibly unlucky, Gavin the clerk will read you the rules word for word. That is payback for the person who moaned behind you.)