Neither rain nor snow nor dark of night can stop the postal service from delivering the mail. But a $10 billion shortfall just might. The postal service is threatening to file for bankruptcy if it can’t make up its current losses.  This calamity, warns the Postmaster General, can only be averted by “swift Congressional action.”

Now there’s an oxymoron….

And while we’re waiting for THAT to happen, I’ve got a few suggestions.

To save money, the postal service is thinking of closing some locations and setting up shop in convenience stores. If what we want is convenience, how does “the U.S. Postal Starbucks“ sound? You could lick a stamp and sip a latte in the same place!

Better yet — why not merge the local post office with the nearest health spa? Spa members could lift sacks of mail instead of weights. Instead of taking an aerobics class, they’ll each be assigned a postal route. Delivering mail is great exercise.  Not to mention that favorite pastime of postal carriers everywhere — running from snarling dogs.

Ditch the Forever stamp. Nothing lasts forever, especially in this economy. Replace it with the Maybe Soon stamp.

Commemorative stamps? We can’t afford to commemorate anything but how broke we are. That’s why it’s time to sell ad space on postage stamps. The right to design stamps will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Goodbye statesmen, literary figures and wildflowers. Say hello to the Haliburton stamp!

The Inwood Post Office in New York City, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Will such places pass into history?

Tax time? No more online filing. From now on, everything must be mailed in.  We’ll issue special stamps, just for filing tax returns: “Refund, Please!“ Happy to Pay My Fair Share.” “Here’s My Last Dollar, You Gonifs.” “I Swear I‘m Not Making This Up.” And, sure to be the most popular,  “Bite me, IRS.”

We can reform political campaign finance law and fund the post office at the same time by requiring that ALL political advertising take place by mail. End the robocalls, and get that political blather off the airwaves and the internet. Put it back on the mail where we can easily glance at it, then toss it into the circular file.

Better yet — require that all political advertising take place exclusively on postage stamps! Political speech these days is mostly ten-second sound bites anyway. Politicians haven’t got a thing to say that won’t fit nicely on a postage stamp. Make them put it there. And pay for it. With a three word limit. “Guns for Jesus.” “Tax the Poor.” “Trash the Environment.”

And once elected, they no longer get a free postal ride on the taxpayer’s nickel. From now on, elected officials pay postage for every piece of self-serving junk they send us. The only down side is that we’ll have less material to line the birdcage with.

Finally, every child who no longer lives at home will be REQUIRED to mail a letter to his or her mom each week. A hand-written letter that does not contain the word “money.”

If the postal service is still in the hole after making these changes, we’ll add up what it owes and issue a single stamp in that amount. We’ll call it the Shortfall Stamp. Philatelists will go nuts for it. These people are crazy anyway — they’ll pony up millions of dollars for a used postage stamp! As long as its rare and unique. Nothing will be more rare and unique than the Shortfall stamp. I’m sure there’s a philatelist out there who’ll put down a cool billion for a stamp only he (and you know it’s gonna be a “he“) can have.

If all else fails, we can always fall back on the Timothy Leary stamp. One lick and suddenly, our nation’s economic problems turn into rainbows and moonbeams and you’re running naked through Strawberry Fields Forever. Sure to be a hot seller, even at fifty bucks for a one-way trip.

If my plan works, I don’t want your thanks. I don’t even want my picture on a stamp. I just want the right to appoint the next Postmaster General. And I want it to be Betty White.

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  • Amy November 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    The letter to mom should not contain the wordS “money” or “need” 🙂 Funny Roz!!

  • Ruth nathan November 2, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Love the idea of selling space and the kid requirement. Terrific column.

  • Isabella November 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Great essay. In fact, I just saw an article about German post offices, and how many of them are in convenience stores. I sometimes buy my “forever” stamps at Costco. But I really like the idea of having them in coffee shops. Talk about incentives!

  • Maria November 1, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Great suggestions! Very funny, though, sadly, mostly true.

  • Maggie Goodman November 1, 2011 at 10:13 am

    You got me laughing. I’m sending this to all my friends.

  • jgolden08 November 1, 2011 at 8:55 am

    All of these ideas are brilliant. I nominate Roz for postmistress general!

  • Just One Boomer November 1, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Your essay makes me want to snail mail my comment. What’s the mailing address? Don’t forget the zip code.

  • irene November 1, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Great ideas! it’s a real dilemma how we all want mail service but don’t actually use it much. A good idea to legislate a fix, especially having the kids write home. What’s with this emailing and facebooking anyway. Keep on writing, roz!!