Should Americans wear the Postal Service?

Everyone in America knows about the United States Postal Service (USPS), the friendly people that drive those ugly trucks down the street just to put advertisements in mailboxes. Yet, the Postal Service does much more for the average American. In some ways, it is a symbol of good old American ingenuity. After all, these people go house to house nearly every day, in both the snow and rain, just to deliver seemingly useless paper. Now, those friendly faces that once brightened days may be gone. With the looming fiscal crisis and USPS’s lack of business sense, those white trucks may be coming to an end unless something happens.

That something could, in fact, be one of the farthest things from mail—clothing. While the Postal Service should get its act together, fashion simply is not the way to do it. Although those rain slickers and baseball caps have a certain appeal, they cannot save this dying piece of America. After all, those weatherproof jackets probably will not be made in America and people would not buy them either. Postmen are not exactly the most fashionable people on the planet, and considering that many Americans buy their clothing for fashion rather than function, the Postal Service is going to have a difficult time marketing their brand. As it is, the company cannot get a footing in these rough times.

Technology has all but erased the need for mail, save for Christmas cards and other things of that nature. People text, email, and Facebook their friends instead of pulling out that trusty pen and paper to write a letter. Although this technology has opened many doors, it is also leading to the destruction of long-standing traditions. Things as simple as addressing an envelope are lost to the younger generations and, although messages in real-time can be useful, nothing can beat a handwritten letter for memories. Letters take time—time to plan, time to write, time to send. All this time gives people a chance to appreciate this dying art. It gives the words more meaning, a meaning that can be lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It takes much more effort to pick up a pen and write than it does to text. This gives each and every handwritten word that much more meaning to both the writer and the reader. However, nowadays, no one has the time to devote to such “frivolous” things. After all, when anyone is little more than a click away, why waste time writing and waiting? This one simple question has led to the fall of one of America’s oldest institutions. The written word is a lost art in modern day terms. Few people still use pen and paper for correspondence on a regular basis. Ten, maybe twenty years from now, mail, and all of its nostalgia will probably be a thing of the past.

The memories are what have kept the Postal Service alive—not their package pickup, free boxes, or the promise of weatherproof clothing. With the speed and insanity of modern life, the Postal Service, in a way, gives people a chance to slow down, even if only for a small part of their day. It provides a connection to people that simply cannot be found in a text message. A return to the days of letters may be a good thing for modern society and the Unites States Postal Service to boot.

Emily McNair is a down-to-Earth artist who is rarely seen without some form of video game regalia. She is from the small town of Monument, Colorado and loves to spend her precious spare time outdoors. She has been with The Oredigger for three years and is currently Managing Editor. She is working on a degree in chemical engineering and will graduate in May.

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