A National Treasure, even if They did Steal My Akira Books

The United States Postal Service is a goddamn national treasure. Jingoists love to beat the drum of American exceptionalism and claim that this or that aspect of the US is the envy of the world. In most cases, that’s disingenuous nonsense. Seems no one ever actually asks the rest of the world what they envy about the US and instead attributes assumptions and lies to them, particularly if we’re counting other “advanced” or “developed” nations as part of the world. Those folks definitely do not envy our voting system or our political leaders, and they damn sure don’t envy our healthcare, education, or welfare system. We’re a joke and a nightmare to more civilized nations in those fields. But something they may have reason to envy us for is our postal service.

Despite everything that the capitalist class has done to destroy the USPS, it survives and continues to maintain superiority over its “competitors.” Corporate and political saboteurs (and there’s very little light between them; in the case of scumbag Louis DeJoy they were the same person) have done all they can to undermine and impede the Postal Service. From starving USPS of funds, cutting their hours, closing locations, robbing them of equipment, these assholes have tried to kill one of the best systems the United States has produced, but the Postal Service is still kicking and still better than the corporate alternatives in many ways.

Is USPS perfect? No. Last year, my mother sent me boxes of some of my books from back home. One of those boxes was lost, I believe stolen, by USPS. In their defense, it was a complete collection of Akira, Sin City, and Daytripper, and it was media mail. Not that that’s an excuse. I was furious about it, and still am, and if I ever found the person who stole those books I might beat them mercilessly.

Yet even with that grievous infraction, I still have more trust in USPS than the corporate swindlers who petulantly and feebly challenge it.

Rather than go in-depth on all USPS’s positive attributes, which I’ll leave to John Oliver, I’m going to speak from personal experience.

Two weeks ago, I ordered a new pair of running shoes. I’ve developed a janky knee and thought a sneaker with thicker cushioning might help delay my eventual crippling until hopefully much later in life. The shoe peddler offered free expedited shipping, with the assurance that the shoes would arrive before Christmas, a boast they made through reliance on Fedex. I followed the path my shoes took through the Fedex tracker, all the way from the far-flung reaches of San Bernardino to my feet in San Rafael. A nearly unfathomable distance of 446 miles, a seven-ish hour adventure that none but the owner of a functional automobile would dare attempt. The shoes arrived at the local San Rafael Fedex facility last Tuesday, two days before Christmas. It looked like they were going to make it in time! But alas, dear reader, they did not. Days passed, Christmas came and went, the shoes sat at that facility for over a week. At that point I called Fedex to inquire as to what the fuck was up. A man, who sounded fearful that I might yell at and attack him, apologized profusely, too much really, and assured me that he’d send a note to the local Fedex to ensure that my cushy shoes would be given priority and delivered the next day.

I thanked him.

The shoes were not delivered the next day.

BUT, the day after that, they came. At last, they came, but it wasn’t a corporate slave in a roaring Fedex truck that brought them; it was a USPS mail carrier in the classic repurposed WWII mail truck that did. It was an honest to god postman that set that box down in my driveway.

After sitting on my package for over a week, failing to meet their drunken capitalist promises of the superiority of private industry, Fedex failed, threw up their hands, and passed my package off to the good old reliable socialist United States Postal Service.

Granted, this incident happened at the cross-section of covid and Christmas, and I’m sure Fedex was swamped. But USPS was for damn sure swamped too, probably more so, yet they were the ones that stepped up and came through in the end.