When I dropped her off at the airport the other day, Becky gave me a smooch, hopped out of the car, grabbed her carryon, and started to turn toward the entrance, when she stopped.
She looked back to me and said, “Hey! I asked a few people to guest post but they might not have had time to put anything together. If you don’t get something, just post something for me, okay?”
“OK, I’m off! See you soon!” she blew one last kiss to me and scurried in to the terminal to get strip-searched or whatever by TSA. I looked up and as I started to drive back home, I could feel the weight growing: but the Pranksters….they are accustomed to QUALITY! And I’m just a hack who posts a few times a month. How will I measure up? How will I fulfill the RSS-pectations of all these lovely people who crave their daily dose of Aunt Becky??
So I did the same thing I did in college: I procrastinated. I tweeted, I watched Fringe, I played with the kidlets, I poked around on my computer. And now here we are! The time has come! I must…POST!
OK. The Mailbox Incident, or Ways I Hope I Never Mess Up My Kids.
I was maybe 7 years old. My parents were teachers, in a church-run school, so I spent a lot of time hanging around the church waiting for them to finish up whatever it was they were doing. And then, when they would say that it was time to leave, someone would catch them in the hallway and they would chat for a while longer. So I’d meander away, trying to drag them with sheer force of will away from whomever they were chatting with and out to the car.
One day, a pleasant spring day not unlike today ( see, there WAS a tie-in!), my mom was talking about God-knows-what boring stuff, and I wandered outside to the courtyard, thinking about getting home and riding my bike or something. I was into spy stories, and I’d read about spies leaving notes in special places, so I started imagining where my spy contacts would have left me notes. Near the door of the building was GIGANTIC mailbox, like a foot tall and two feet deep, and I thought to myself, “this flag on the mailbox — I never see it used — this would be perfect to tell someone that something was waiting!” So I flipped up the flag, and started to turn and hide while my imaginary spy friends picked up the imaginary note I left them, when –
My mom came running out of the door! “David!” she almost shouted, and I got that tingly feeling like I knew something bad was about to happen.
“David! You can’t touch that flag! That’s tampering with the mail, that’s a federal offense!” she said, and I felt weak in the knees and wanted to cry. I *knew* what a federal offense meant. It meant TORTURE so they could make me TALK! If they caught me I would never see my family again! I quickly flipped the flag back down and, fighting back fearful tears, walked to the car with my mom.
To this day, whenever I put mail out in my mailbox, I feel compelled to look around Very Carefully before flipping up the flag. They might be watching.