fiction

Waiting for Mail

Can life be any duller? I should say, can life be any mug shotduller if all you have to look forward to is the mail arriving? You wake up to a life filled with promise, bring in the newspaper, and sit down to read while you eat your bran cereal (God knows you need the fiber).

According to the newspaper, the entire world is going to hell in a handbasket (or on rollerskates -- your choice). Terrorists really don’t like us, and in fact, no one seems to like us, not even our friends. There’s too much rain or not enough, the planet is getting too hot, everyone in government is lying to us (and I mean everyone), and violence is everywhere.

Better read the gossip column and the comics, because those other sections just don’t bode well. Look here -- a famous young a) actress, b) singer, or c) no-talent has just been arrested (third time in a month) for driving without a brain, in addition to other charges related to a) alcohol, b) drugs, c) excessive speed, or d) all of the above. Here’s an item about a famous person who shot another famous person, one about a house that was sold for $10 million, crosswordand a child custody battle between two celebrities where neither of them can take care of themselves, never mind children.

Maybe the crossword puzzle would be a better use of my time. Tuesday is an easy day, how bad can it be? Nine across is a 6 letter word for hip shaking dance. Let’s come back to that. How about a 5 letter word for turns out a mast? How about we forget the crossword and check the TV listings. Ellen will be on at 11, which would get me up to lunch. Then maybe watch Romancing the Stone for the twentieth time on cable.

Is this what retirement is all about? Killing time until the mail arrives. And what’s the big deal about the mail? You mailboxget a gas and electric bill and a bunch of junk and that makes you happy? There’s a postcard from a realtor who wants to sell your house, which of course will require you to buy a new house, presumably from the same real estate agent. There are supermarket circulars that always make everything look fresh and perfect. Trust me, when you get to the store the bananas are not that yellow and the meat doesn’t quite have the same shade of red. The Home Depot circular is pretty interesting if you’re in the market for a table saw or a 57 horsepower drill. Your health insurer is pleased to notify you that because of your ridiculous deductible, which is the only way you can afford their premiums, you owe just about 100% of the cost of that last preventive procedure you had done. Well, that is good news! Then there’s a statement from your brokerage which underscores a lifetime of bad investments that are only now beginning to bear rotten fruit.

I could think of hundreds more horrible things that come in the mail, but what’s the point? We still wait for it as though it were the --- hold on -- I think I heard the mailbox being closed. Gotta run.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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