Six days, $3.76 and 2,313 miles

The Post Office has always amazed me. Less than a dollar to send a letter from Arizona to Maine?

Thanks to the availability of tracking numbers, I’m addicted to watching the progress of packages I’ve sent or I’m awaiting.

Occasionally, this is an exercise in head-scratching.

Last week, for example, I sold a small item on eBay and mailed it, first class, in a 4×6 padded envelope, to a buyer less than 30 miles away.

I dropped it in the mail on Friday, in time for pickup by my neighborhood mail carrier. My guess was that it would be delivered the next day, or Tuesday at latest given Monday was a holiday.

Instead, it went from Phoenix to Los Angeles (!) for two days and then to Denver (!!) for a day and a half. If the Post Office site is to be believed, the package is out for delivery this morning.

Far be it from me to tell the Post Office how to run its business, but six days, $3.76 and 2,313 miles* to deliver a package less than 30 miles away should probably not be marketed as First-Class Delivery.

*For what it’s worth, driving distance from Phoenix to Bangor, Maine, is 2,935 miles.

Spelling Bee, An Endorsement

Completing The New York Times Sunday Crossword, as in any Sunday’s edition, remains a goal of mine but to be frank it’s far down the list.

For now, I luxuriate in breezing through the Monday edition, wrestling with Tuesday’s and settling for knocking out the Daily Mini in less than 30 seconds.

Lately my wife and I have been co-playing the Times’ Spelling Bee game, which has a simple if not challenging premise: How many words can you make with 7 letters?

Until last week, I thought I had achieved the highest ranking possible, Genius.

It turns out that a higher level exists: Queen Bee, in which a player makes all possible words from the seven letters.


That can mean only one thing: Solving the Sunday Crossword just got knocked farther down the list.

Dinner Choices

Even though I’m three decades past my college days, I think I could still fit in, at least in some ways.

Namely: meal management.

With the fridge barren and cupboards thin on just about everything tonight, my dinner consisted of a bowl of Life cereal and a PBJ.

But who am I kidding? In college I would have ordered a pizza — and I would have done the same tonight if I hadn’t had it for lunch.


Sometimes Often I read an essay and I wish I had written it.

The latest example is written by Alex McElroy — and not by me, damn it — in last week’s edition of The New York Times Magazine: “Why Holding a Grudge Is So Satisfying.”

A grudge is not a resentment. Sure, they’re made of the same material — poison — but while resentment is concentrated, a grudge is watered down, drinkable and refreshingly effervescent, the low-calorie lager to resentment’s bootleg grain alcohol.

Effervescent is the perfect word to describe McElroy’s writing, and I agree with every word they wrote. Especially this:

Did someone truly, existentially wrong you? Don’t waste your time growing a grudge — save it for something pettier.

So I guess it’s not appropriate to hold a grudge against someone I’ve never met over something as existential-adjacent as them being a more gifted writer than I?

Or maybe it is.