Friday, January 17, 2014

If You Give...

      At the beginning of the recently passed Christmas season, I managed to mail roughly three dozen cards––down from last year when I had a tad more time to splurge. The criterion of who received this year's cards with a brief note was that the recipient had to live out-of-state.
    Yesterday, the Post Office set in my mailbox one of those cards stamped "Address Unknown." I verified the address in my address book: Hmmm. Same address I'd been using for several years.
     I called Vicky long distance, and after an exchange of pleasantries and catch-up, I told her about the returned card. "Nothing had changed," she said, "the address was good." Near the end of swapping ideas back and forth on the matter, Vicky cleared her throat and ventured: "Did you use printed mailing labels or did you write the addresses in cursive?"
     I think, dear readers, you can guess what we surmised: someone, somewhere in the labyrinths of the postal service could not decipher my penmanship. Will future generations not be able to recognize cursive longhand in the future? Could a future rubber stamp be in the works to label longhand-addressed envelopes with "Addressee/Address Illegible?"
     This brought to mind two notes sent to us in early Fall. Both notes thanked us for recent wedding gifts. Both notes were printed. Fine. Both notes were tucked into envelopes that were––how to word this––oh well, sloppily, and improperly addressed. Incompetence on behalf of two college-educated people. And one envelope was addressed to our first names only! Who is to blame for this?  Or is this a skill––addressing an envelope complete with correct placement of return address, stamp, first name/last name preceded by a title if only a Mr. or Mrs. or Ms.––young people believe they don't need?
     I'm reminded of Laura Numeroff 's best-selling children's book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. The book is written in a rhythmic, circular pattern with the idea that one thing leads to another, which leads to another and another and back again. A delightful book, if you haven't already read it. But here's my take on it (and I confess, it's not nearly as playful as Ms. Numeroff's):

  If you give a child Velcro closures,
     A child will not know buttons, zippers or shoelaces.
  If you give a child a hand-held calculator
     A child will not be able to do mental arithmetic.
  If you give a child only letters to print
     A child will not recognize cursive writing.
  If you give a child a laptop, smartphone, or tablet
     A child will not know how to address an envelope!

But there are ways around not knowing: either pick up a book, or easier, GOOGLE. For me, Google graciously shared a mind-boggling 6,410,000 results in 0.47 seconds. Even a step-by-step YouTube was in the mix. The coup de grace, though, was finding apps for how to address an envelope, to wit: Howcast app for iPhones or iPads, and I'm sure there are others.

There you have it, dear readers. Thank you for your forbearance on a matter that will one day find a resolution.