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.



45 thoughts on “OH EM GEE The PRESSURE

    1. Not just after school — before school and on weekends too. I spent more time at school in my first 10 years of life than most people do in their lifetime, I think.

  1. Daver, i don’t know why you are so hard on yourself. CLEARLY, you are doing something right. I mean, you married Becky, right?

    1. Oh, I do a lot of things right, don’t get me wrong! I set up & maintain the server this site runs on, build software to send out sample chapters, and work 70 hours a week at my high-stress job in finance IT. I’m just humbled by her daily commitment to this blog and the Pranksters, and how wonderful this community is, so I joke about it, because I know I couldn’t do what she does every day! Not everyone can be a ballerina, and I’m okay with that 🙂

      And yeah, I was totally smart to marry Becky. 🙂

  2. GAH! I remember stealing mail from my neighbors mailbox because I felt sorry for my Mom because she didnt get any that day. She read me the Fed riot act too. She MUST have been laughing inside though, because why the hell would she want the neighbors bills?

    How is the staycation going?

  3. Dave, you know I love you, but that is pathetic!!! You are possibly the worst spy ever! Don’t you know you were then supposed to kill your mother with a ballpoint pen for pointed out your dead drop?

    (as a child, I wanted to join the Mossad).

  4. I think Aunt Becky would be proud. However, this post makes me start wondering if she’s REALLY off on a cruise or if she’s really on a super secret spy mission and you’re just totally covering for her or maybe you don’t even know it and you’ve inadvertently blown her cover by mentioning SPY stuff on her blog and now you’ll have to all move and go into Witness Protection and we’ll never hear from you (or rather her) again.

    Did I mention I have a pretty good imagination too?

    1. But what if her cruise is just a cover for a spy thing which is just a cover for another spy thing?!? And Witness Protection is a cover for a cruise? And….

    2. But what if her cruise is just a cover for a spy thing which is just a cover for another spy thing?!? And Witness Protection is a cover for a cruise? And….

  5. You do realize the Feds monitor every little thing on the interweb and you will now be hunted down and thrown in a dungeon for the federal offense of touching that flag . . .

    or not

  6. Wow. Do you and my husband have the same Mom? My MIL probably would have added something about how disappointed God would be with that behavior.

    Thanks for the laugh. I really needed it today. Great post.

  7. Anytime the neighbors asks me to get their mail when they are out on vacation (we currently do this job for three of our neighbors and did it for two of our neighbors in our old neighborhood) I always cringe because my first thought is “It’s a set up!” They want to press charges against me for touching their mailbox…….Federal Offense plays through my mind over and over again until they come to pick up their weeks worth of parcel.

  8. While we were all aware that mail tampering was a federal offense (I don’t remember how we learned that), in my family it was simply customary to use that information to threaten/torture your sisters. If they got to the mail before you? They were clearly trying to open mail not addressed to them…which is a FEDERAL OFFENSE! It was fun to be a member of my family too.

  9. Wow your mom really corrupted your mail checking and mailing and flag flipping. I bet she has them keeping an eye on your box at all times. Sorry man. Great post and super Becks will damn proud.

  10. That post was not up to par. I will never come here again….Actually that was pretty funny. I could almost see your mom yelling at you. Not much has changed huh.

  11. *They* ARE watching. If you feel so compelled to flip the flag, have Mimi do it. *They* won’t be able to resist her adorable cheeks. Great post, Daver!

  12. Bless your heart. My parents always used to freak out like that, but the authoritative body referenced was Jesus, not the government. I swear they coined “what would Jesus do?”

  13. hey! i got my first blogger award today!!! (i know right – you are so fuckin impressed!) and i’m passin’ it on to you cuz apparently i like totally love you! come by and pick me (oops) it up!

  14. Great post, Daver! Loved this — it’s so something I would have done (and the reaction I would have gotten) when I was a kid. The Mail was Serious Business around my house. I still refuse to open someone else’s mail, even with permission.

  15. The last time I committed an offense without checking for authorities first I was 5. I pooped on the next door neighbor’s welcome mat. I hated that woman with all of my heart and I let it cloud my judgment. I should have waited until dark.

  16. When I was a kid my mom would always swerve insanely to avoid what appeared to be empty boxes or bags in the road. I guess she still does. I once asked why and pointed out that it couldn’t possibly hurt the car to run over an empty plastic bag. She told me (probably 8 or 9 years old) that those bags could be full of kittens, and then she would feel really horrible about running them over. So now, 20 years later, I swerve crazily to avoid every bag, box or other apparently empty container in the road, my mind filled with kitten-carnage, and picturing a small, fuzzy feline face staring up at me with big sad eyes. Thanks Mom.

  17. Your mother sounds like mine. When I found $20 she made me give it to the police in case somebody might claim it. And “someone” did.

    I like your writing. I like that it’s short and gets to the point. And I’d better shut up now.

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