By Wayne William Cipriano
They call it Mailbox Baseball and they do not understand how devastating and how frightening it can be when a person really depends on mail delivery.
It is not just postcards from friends, letters from family. It is medications sent to housebound people who have no other way to secure them. It is retirement checks for food and rent mailed to those who do not have a bank account into which those funds can be electronically deposited. It is magazines, newspapers and the like informing those who cannot collect the news in other ways. And, yes, it is cards and letters from loved tones, too.
For many, especially the elderly and the infirm, their mailbox is a significant part of their lives. The destruction of that mailbox not only interrupts their contact with the outside world, but can also frighten them as well.
What to do?
The United States Postal Service’s Inspector General’s office has a long song and dance that boils down to telling us where to put our mailbox, exactly how high it should be over the roadway, what we can put in our mailbox, and what we cannot put in it; but they insist that the mailbox is our personal property, and as such, the USPS Inspector General has absolutely no interest whatsoever in mailbox destruction. I know because I called and asked them.
Law enforcement agencies, as you can well imagine, have a few other things to worry about besides mailbox destruction. Still, law enforcement has investigated some local occurrences and even, I believe, made a few arrests. But, I say, because these punks are usually minors, law enforcement agencies cannot ethically discuss individual cases.
So, this may be an issue that we should handle ourselves. No, I am not taking about a bunch of vigilantes traipsing across the county searching for mailbox baseball players. What I am suggesting is a little parental involvement.
Be it from me to advise others on the raising of their children, even when the sweet bundle of joy is smashing mailboxes and depriving people of postal deliveries, which cannot be left in destroyed mailboxes. But, in my own case, I can easily imagine what my father’s (uncles’ or grandfathers’) reaction would be should it have been discovered that my friends and I were trashing mailboxes and because of our irresponsible actions people were unable to take necessary medications, people were unable to buy food and pay rent, people were missing family news –– some good, some bad. Yes, I can envision a temporary limp and a much longer-lasting shudder each and every time I even looked at a mailbox. And, I can say with no fear of contradiction that I would carry on such a family response to such unmitigated irresponsibility!
Sure, you say that if kids’ parents raised them even close to right those kids would not do something like this. But, remember that kids are kids. They do not know hardly anything until that information is impressed upon them. So, parents, when you hear or suspect that your offspring, or their friends, are trying to be noticed by destruction rather than positive behavior, impress them… vigorously!