Remember when you used to look forward to getting your mail? Whether you waited in your house for the sound of the postman’s step on the porch, watched for envelopes cascading through the slot in the door onto the floor (or ker-plunk into a closed mailed chute), or walked to the front of your property to retrieve items from your rural-style mailbox, it used to be fun to look through the daily mail. It wasn’t that long ago, either, when you'd likely find a notes—and on a good day, you might have a long, juicy letter—from friends or relatives catching you up on their lives.
Now, since e-mail has become the normal mode of communication between friends, most of us receive only catalogs and requests for money from merchants, Visa card banks, or utilities . . . or charities competing for our discretionary funds. Where is the thrill in opening an envelope stuffed with address labels, sun catchers, or pens when the accompanying letter begs for money in exchange for merchandise we didn’t want in the first place?
My “Restore the Thrill” campaign, launched from my house and announced only through this blog, is certain to bring a little smile to the mail recipient. It’s easy! All you do is this: once a week, jot a short note to a friend, add a stamp, and drop it in a blue US mailbox (or put it out for your personal mail carrier to take away). As long as your note doesn’t arrive on a special occasion for that person, you’ll take your friend by surprise and thereby give him (or her) a small delight. And your friend doesn’t have to live far away, either. You can delight someone this way who lives but one block away.
Just think of the power of forty-four cents! Cheaper than dinner out or a trip to the therapist, this gesture won’t take you much more than ten minutes. Imagine that little lurch of adrenaline when your friend spies a handwritten note mixed in with postcards from Safeway and the new pizza joint down the street, a bill from the power company, and a request for a donation from the retirement home where her Aunt Minnie was residing when she died three years ago.
Better yet, write postcards instead of notes. At a mere twenty-seven cents, they will be fun for the carriers, too—something for them to read (if they’re inclined). So you’re delighting two constituents for a little more than "two bits."
If everyone who can would write just one note a week, we could flood USPS with handwritten love notes, hi-there notes, thinking-of-you notes, and I-care notes. Let’s take back the mail and “Restore the Thrill” of picking up today’s mail.