Yeah, that fuckin’ Bobby. He’s a card.

The only thing I hate more than the phone is the mailbox. Except for birthdays and Christmas, nothing good ever comes out of the mailbox. Just like the phone is an unwanted tether to every call center and nutter on the planet, the mailbox is like some rift in the fabric of reality, through which any unwelcome or unwholesome freak (and my creditors) can cause unwanted debris to materialize in my home.

OK, to be fair, if I bought something, I should pay for it. So I need to get a bit of mail related to my mortgage, auto loan, insurance, etc. I’m traveling nearly the entire summer, mostly for business, but also making several trips to see my kids while they’re out of school. Hectic. So I thought it would be really convenient to forward mail from my home to my office, where it can be forwarded once again to wherever I am if need be.

Skip ahead a month, and I’m mail-less. I’ve been cast out from mail receiving society. At my home mail box, I get a few pieces of mail, but it’s not mine. It’s for people who formerly lived at the address, or this fellow named ‘Resident’. At the office, a very few pieces have materialized from the ether. This must be the most important mail of all: credit card offers. I also know some was returned as undeliverable. A fact made clear to me by creditors obliged to phone me, and check on my health, well-being, and oh yes, my willingness to pay them before I skip town. The rest of my mail is simply missing, but I think I know where to look: the post office.

So I head down there yesterday, and ask them to help me find my mail and ensure it gets delivered. The guy at the desk wants nothing to do with this. If I don’t want collectible stamps, why am I bothering him? He’s stamp guy, not messy problem guy. He trots off to get a manager.

The manager comes out in the blue tie on blue shirt Regis-esque regalia of the Zip Code Commander, takes one look at me, and says, “Oh, you, yeah. Let me tell you what’s going on.” Me? I’ve been in this post office one time previously, and I’m pretty sure me picking up a package was no memorable event, but he says this like I’m number one on some list of postal malcontents. I should have left a bigger Christmas tip!

“We just got your forwarding card,” he tells me, “it should be all set now.” I respond that I actually made the request four weeks ago, and without missing a beat, he explains: “Right, yours had been misplaced, but now it’s gone through.” I explained that some amount of junk mail was actually being delivered, and again he had a response at the ready: “Yeah, without the card, Bobby prob’ly didn’t know what to do with it.” He’s good… it’s not that the explanation makes sense, because as far as Bobby knows, there was no card until it was found, but it’s a really believable performance. And it’s all from memory, there wasn’t a script in sight.

All right, I ask, why is mail getting returned as undeliverable. “Right. You see Bobby might have been out that day, and the other guy didn’t know what do with it.” How about deliver it?! “Yeah, well Bobby was keeping your mail here to be forwarded, but…” Fucking Bobby. I should have known. You gotta love him. Who is Bobby, anyway?

At this point, I know three things: My problem has a name, and that name is Bobby. The impressive doublespeak and circular logic is hurting my head. And I have assurances that there is a veritable mail tsunami making its way to my office even as we speak.

But some mail is actually getting to the office, I hiss, so the explanation about a lost card doesn’t make sense. There. I’d done it. What I got in response was silence. Silence and the saddest, most pained, morose, and pitiful expression I’ve ever seen on a person. It was the expression of a child who has lost his puppy on the same day he has learned there is no Santa, but there was more to it than that. It was also expression your calculator would give you if you divided by zero. And there were faint wisps, I am certain, of the expression Caesar bore when he beheld Brutus.

What would you do in this situation? It looked like I had destroyed any illusions he had that the world kind and good. If only I had believed his fairy tale, tinker bell would still live, and God would still love us. I did the only thing I could do. I thanked him and left. I should have just paid my bills on line. In time, I’m sure Bobby and I will look back on this and laugh, once I figure out who he is.

From my reading it appears that bobby is not the problem, but the solution. After all, isn’t it bobby who magically knew where to deliver the mail? It was the other guy, who didn’t share bobby’s gift for divining where missing people are who’s the problem.