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


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 ]


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 ]


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 ]

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.





Leave a Reply

Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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

0 Comments Load Comments


Shuffler's Luck

I never knew a card game could change my life. I'm not talking about a high-stakes poker game, where international gangsters vie for dominance in a world of chance, and if chance doesn't go their way, bullets will do as a nice substitute. I'm talking about a simple card game with suggestions for the...

[ Swap Article ]

Bully man

Meter Mensch

A co-worker of mine dropped her bus pass in the hall. Someone picked it up and handed it to her. She thanked the person, saying she was sure glad she hadn't lost it for good. I poked my head out of my office and said, "You just ruined a fare inspector's day." Got a good laugh, and it got me...

[ Swap Article ]

Chess board made of white and brown sugar with King

Sweetness and Dark

The street is dark. Cars line both sides, hugging the curbs. Streetlamps reflect off of glossy paint jobs and squeegeed windshields, creating alternative perspective art pieces from flipped aspect ratios of bent light. A breeze blows the evening fog up from the water. It lowers the ambient...

[ Swap Article ]

Holy Cow - handgezeichnete Illustration mit Pastellkreide in türkis

Couch Etymology

From where you sit, do you understand seated origin? The reason for said sitting? If not, you soon will. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Pop-art style poster with hipster deer dressed in yellow glasses and scarf, telling I am cool.

Toxic Bambi

Yesterday while I was writing, Ella, our seven-year-old, came up to me and said she had thought of a joke. "My first joke," she announced, pride streaming from her voice and face. I asked her what it was. Here's what she said, "What does [we'll say Bob] want to do for school? Me U. Get it? Me U...

[ Swap Article ]

World Map in Typography word cloud concept, names of countries

Plan for the Journey

Toastmasters is moving away from its physical manuals and static speech-making program into a dynamic program called Pathways. On January 10, 2019, I delivered my first speech in Pathways: a re-imagination of my ice-breaker speech. If you don't know me, know this: if you give me a rubric, I will...

[ Swap Article ]


Battle of the Sarcasticons

I’m raising a band of Little Sarcasticons. Defined term? Yes, yes it is. You can find it in the Kabala Book of Sarcasticisms. New chapters available daily. No longer must we be constrained in our sarcastic witticism production. Oh, no, folks. Netflix has joined the charge with their resurrection...

[ Swap Article ]

Secondhand word cloud

Editor's Note--TFF Issue #20

Some vehicles bring lackluster competitive spirit to dancing competitions. Despite their nimble construction, most compact models lack the energy to stick it out in the most heated scenarios. Then you've got the ones who were made for dancing. Made for not just cruising down the road, but for...

[ Swap Article ]

Plumbing Speed Logo Icon Design

Speed Plumbing

The pipe masters ascended the stairs and entered the arena. They'd come a long way, building rudimentary structures to escape cribs and punish bullies as children, graduating to more complicated designs as adolescents and adults. Mario had been especially proud of his design that transported him...

[ Swap Article ]

Fortune cookie bad set. death and robber on paper prediction. Vector illustration

Imaginative Cookies

The executive stepped to the lectern, his stomach churning with nerves and the remnants of last night's authentic Mexican food. Wonderful flavors. Wonderful and punishing, that is. This moment was shaping up to be a repeat of that theme. Investors, the public, the press--if he could convince them...

[ Swap Article ]

Businessman Drawing on the Whiteboard. Pop Art

Editor's Note--TFF Issue #19

A few months ago, I decided to write a daily quote on my office wall. No, I’m not an irascible child who will not be contained in my creative fury. I have a whiteboard that I use for quote purposes and other work stuff. ...

[ Swap Article ]