insurance design

Smoking Charges Ignite

Last night, Amy took Anna, our seven-year-old, to the dress rehearsal for her 2015 dance recital. I was left in charge of Will, our nine-year-old, and Ella, our three-year-old. What follows is a litany of the kids showing me that I exist in their world as a piece of tightly-spun twine, permanently...

[ Swap Article ]

Sad Child

Mimicry

Our actions become our kids' reactions. Not exactly new. Not exactly Newtonian (pause while joke sinks in). But it's a truism all the same. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Car radio

Piece of Sh*t Car Reprise

When I was in high-school, a popular song named "Ode to My Car," by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn't. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn't stop the explicit lyrics from making an impact, even if the song's plot...

[ Swap Article ]

ad-sample

Advertise Here

I never wanted to go to the post office. I have vague memories as a child of standing in line to buy stamps, eyeing strangers warily, watching in horror as letters and packages disappeared down the chute, never to be …...

[ Swap Article ]

Re-gifting

Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you'll be a big-time celebrity some day. ...

[ Swap Article ]

A Reasonable Explanation

Therapist: Take me back to the beginning. Tell me how it all got started, how you eventually wound up holding the bloody knife in the aftermath of your killing spree. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation....

[ Swap Article ]

That's a Mouthful

Waking up to the sounds of birds and (outside) insects is alluring, and when you have your second 10th cup of coffee and realize you are on vacation, and this auditory lovemaking is real, not the result of an ambitious-carpet-cleaning hallucination, you can finally relax, letting your bulk stress...

[ Swap Article ]

Stupid Piece of ... Oh, That's Right

I'm a realist. I call things like they are, and if I look stupid in the process, well, so be it. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Deadly Donuts

The morning started off good. Four eggs fluffed with a splash of milk, mixed with Parmesan and salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes and slathered with Cholula hot sauce; four ounces of Bob Evan's spicy Italian sausage (sorry for the smell, honey, luv ya) fried into the wonderful concoction;...

[ Swap Article ]

When Did I Become a Pushover?

I've never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats along with the best of them and hope that my manufactured bravado was enough to...

[ Swap Article ]

As I Approach 30

I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

[ Swap Article ]

0
Envelopes background

Filed Under , , on August 30th, 2014

Going Postal

By Seth Kabala

I never wanted to go to the post office.

I have vague memories as a child of standing in line to buy stamps, eyeing strangers warily, watching in horror as letters and packages disappeared down the chute, never to be seen again, nothing but the promise (the insane hope, in my opinion at the time) that the people on the other side would do the right thing, getting parcels and packages where they were supposed to go, as opposed to holding bonfires and ritual séances, our paper and cardboard packaging providing the fuel for the fires.

I mean, what the hell is up with those huge-ass P.O. boxes that you never see anyone getting into? The ones that are, suspiciously, the perfect size to store a human head. Just sayin’.

I have never been to prison, never been to jail, outside of researching one for an article (I swear), and I feel I owe my freedom to my negative experience within the post office, for if incarceration is anything like spending time inside a post office, I want no part of it, other than to retrieve checks from my business P.O. box and get the hell out before the tortured souls behind the chute wall reach forth and trap me forever with their other-worldly tentacles.

My kids think differently.

My consulting firm recently moved offices to Davenport, while maintaining a P.O. box in Bettendorf. The difference isn’t untraversable, but it does require a fair amount of planning to make sure I check the the box regularly, convenience of location now missing from the features list. To this end, I have begun checking the box only on Wednesdays and Saturdays–and on Saturdays, we always have a few, or fifty, family errands to run, so the family has been tagging along with me.

Maybe the facade is friendlier. Maybe the tortured souls have taken master classes from Hollywood make-up artists on how to blend into society. Whatever the reason, my kids want to come inside with me while I check the box. Once inside, they parade around like kids in a candy store, and not just any candy store–one where everything is free! An outside observer might guess I’d kept them caged up all week, and the arrival at the post office was their only time of freedom before re-entering the cage. (Side note: I have never caged my children, though the thought crosses my mind every time we go out to eat.)

They prance around like horses in a field, faces awestruck at the assortment of shipping materials, greeting cards, tile floor (yeah, don’t get that one). I see them breathe in smells of paper, glue, tape, and the odor of complacent government employees and irate customers. Finally, they make use of the almost-too-good-to-be-true wastebasket/countertop, wherein which one can deposit paper waste and atop which one can stack packages. I’d have to describe their expressions as mind blown.

But is it the done-up-to-look-like-real-humans tortured souls that have cast a spell on my children? Is it the arrays of colorful cards, boxes and boxes and boxes (always a hit with kids) and the possibilities for construction inherent in such sacred relics that have enchanted their faces? Or is it something else?

Is it being with dad?

That shall be my hypothesis and, working backward from my conclusion and evaluating the evidence, I believe the scientific method has been satisfied; the results, indisputable. After all, I don’t get even close to the same level of enthusiasm displayed when I ask them to take the trash out at home as I get when I ask them to discard of the envelope detritus left over after I open the latest stash from the P.O. box.

Like Olympic athletes being broadcast to a world-wide stage, preening for the audience as much as primed for performance, they approach the swinging door to the receptacle underneath the counter, manipulating their bodies into form, and deliver their routines, each time finding a home for the refuse–but more importantly, finding a connection to work-week dad (rarely confined to Monday – Friday), which is something that is elusive these days.

I, like millions of other people, am a small business owner, so I work ungodly hours. Not the good God with a capital G, but the bad, false idols–the ones who think baby sacrifice and orgies and fat-free ice cream and aspartame and low sodium foods are ok. Not cool. If you’re in the same boat as me, constantly baling water while attempting to negotiate an upgrade to a less leaky model, I applaud you. You are awesome.

But so are your kids, and as difficult as it may be for you to incorporate them into your work-week, you need to do this. They will recognize how difficult it is, and because of this fact, they will love, admire, and respect you all the more.

So I have a question for you: where is your P.O. box located? But, Seth, you say, I work from home and am afraid daylight will ignight my skin, for I’m convinced I am a vampire. Or, but, Seth, I work in a high-rise office building, and we don’t have a P.O box. Or, but, Seth, I cherish my time away from the kids. Why would I want to taint that?

To the first, you obviously need help with a lot more than the issues raised in this column, so go find a shrink. The second, you’ve obviously missed the metaphorical nature of the P.O. box, so go back to the beginning of the column, re-read, and pay attention. The third, you’re a dick. However much you may cherish your time away from your kids, I guarantee they hate it equally as much, if not more so. Probably more so.

So find your P.O. box in whatever form it may appear. If it’s far away, keep it.

You may have to juke past your own version of tortured souls.

But the waste receptacle competitions will be epic.

 

 

 

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditTwittertumblrEmail



Leave a Reply





Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments Load Comments


Pop Art Businessman Sweating in Warm Office with Fan. Vector illustration

Sweat, Inc.

I sweat at night when we're sitting on the couch. It's like I'm afraid that at any minute, some black-ops interrogator is going to burst through the door and start waterboarding me. Black Ops Dude: "We know you broke those candy bars in half while they were still in the wrappers when you were six,...

[ Swap Article ]

wysiwyg, 3D rendering, metal text on rust background

Editor's Note--TFF Issue 22

I'm convinced that budget cuts are the reason for the delays between fireworks during the Fourth of July show. Likely conversation if I were industrious enough to plant bugs: "Hey, if we only light one every 30 seconds to a minute, they won't notice. They'll have a chance to discuss the color...

[ Swap Article ]

Old Camper or Crystal Meth Lab

Little Meth Lab on the Back 40

I told a colleague that you could buy 12 acres in rural Iowa, plus a private lake, forest, and a decent house for $325K. He mentioned something about using all the extra savings to catch the backwoods economic wave in Iowa and start up a meth lab operation. This colleague has lived his whole life in...

[ Swap Article ]

Children, not, allowed, sign

Barn Kids

Amy and I have been looking at properties with land, something on the order of 1-5 acres. One of these properties had several out-buildings (or outhouses, as Amy continues to misidentify them. Never at a loss for where to drop your drawers on our property!). These out-buildings weren't run-down,...

[ Swap Article ]

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Accidental Smellfungus

Toki has been our cat since 2012. He's a ragdoll breed, which means he's docile to the extreme. You know when cowboys ride bulls in the rodeo? Our kids used to treat Toki as their bull, and he dutifully complied, although in recent years, I've spotted him crawling toward the edge of the ring, if we...

[ Swap Article ]

Open and closed recycle brown carton delivery packaging box.

The Unboxing

Shortly after moving to Portland, I asked our office administrative specialist to order me a footrest. I asked for the footrest for a practical reason: lower back pressure relief. I have a stand-up desk. This works well to get my stand hours in during the day--Apple faithful, you know what I'm...

[ Swap Article ]

God character working on telemarketing vector illustration. Telemarketing, sales, business, marketing design concept

Let there Be Devices

We have over a dozen devices now, and the number is only going to grow from here. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Money eye bottle soda water isolated on mascot

Hydrating Water

Phil wasn't sure what caused his muscles to dehydrate and shrivel up into jerky encased in skin, but he understood the aftermath. His career was over. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Einstein - Think

You're Smart

We were talking around the dinner table about what it means to get a college degree. I said you pass a bunch of tests, and then they give you a piece of paper that says you're smart. I finished my explanation saying employers can rely on that piece of paper as evidence that you're smart. Anna, 11,...

[ Swap Article ]

Madre Greater than Padre

Madre > Padre

A couple weeks ago, Amy diagnosed and changed out all three fuses that controlled electrical flow to the outlets in our car. Super sexy. Super cool. When I say that Amy did it, I don't mean that I was standing on the sidelines, guiding hands and helping words coaching her to a successful solution. I...

[ Swap Article ]

Ben Comedy Main Headshot 2019 Lego Tshirt Hi Res_May 2019 Profile Piece

An Interview with Ben Rosenfeld (feature)

Acceptance and Current Events ...

[ Swap Article ]

Cartoon stick figure drawing conceptual illustration of angry man or businessman targeting with antique cannon ready to fire.

Bolt-Action Cannonball Sack

"Can you do the bolt-action cannonball sack?" Ella asked me today during bedtime. She was trying to remember the name of the move I do when I toss her over my shoulder and then flip her onto the bed. (I call it the fireman’s carry/toss.) Earlier, she was playing Fortnite with Will and must have...

[ Swap Article ]