Thursday, February 14, 2008



My letter to Supreme Commander James Moseley, perpetrator of Saucer Smear zine, was sent back to me.

Attached to the envelope was the label: RETURN TO SENDER UNKNOWN REASON UNABLE TO FORWARD

I double-checked the envelope. The address was correct; the proper amount of postage was affixed.

Did this mean that Jim evolved to a higher level of being (to borrow a phrase from the Heaven’s Gate cult) with an forwarding address? Or maybe he was upset because I wouldn’t reveal my true identity and he decided to cut all communications. (Then again, maybe Ray X is my true identity.)

A quick phone call revealed that Jim was OK. He was as mystified as I was why my letter was returned. Maybe, he speculated offhandedly, it was a conspiracy.

A man in black lurking within the bowels of the postal system, screwing around with my mail? (Maybe that’s why I didn’t get any valentine cards this year.)

Maybe. MIBs could be everywhere. After all, Mac Tonnies has mentioned at his blog,, how his Fed Ex packages from Canada have been opened and then tagged with Homeland Security seals, as he mentions here and also here.

But most likely it’s just plain incompetence on the part of the post office. I noticed that while it jacked the rent to my small PO box by sixteen dollars a year, service still sucks. I have a PO box because delivery to my street address is second-rate. Sometimes I find mail for someone five doors down the street.

At the main post office, the postage stamp vending machine has been hauled away. That machine had been very convenient: you could use real money, coins or bills, to pick up one stamp or a whole book of them. A postal clerk told me that it was hard to find parts to fix the vending machine. Obviously, that was a good, practical purchase: buying a machine that can’t be maintained.

Now you have to use a credit card with the APC (Automated Postal Center) machine that replaces the stamp vending unit. There’s a spy camera hidden in the APC to record your image.

On second thought, maybe MIBs have taken over the Postal Service.


X. Dell said...

I don't think that's the MIB's. I'm thinking it's another acronym.

My mail service sucks too. On top of that, my e-mails sometimes arrive days after I sent them.

You know, I'd almost rather be clinically paranoid rather than accept the fact that (a) the government doesn't really care that it's incompetent, or (b) the government has a long history of mail interception. At least they have drugs for clinical paranoia.

Ray said...

X. Dell:

It's usually that choice: incompetence or conspiracy. Was the CIA really that incompetent with its pre-war intelligence on Iraq and Saddam's WMDs? Or did CIA knew that some of its sources were liars, but went along with the lies as directed by the White House to justify the invasion? Either way, the government doesn't look good.

Maybe the reality is that the government is an incompetent conspiracy.


Doug said...

Postal service? Hmm... sounds vaguely familiar. Wasn't that used back before personal teleportation devices?

Oh wait. Forget I said that.

You saw nothing.