True stories with a twist!

Posts tagged ‘humor’


In November, 2009, when I heard the astounding news that Conde Nast decided to eliminate the publication of Gourmet I was shocked. “This magazine has been a part of my life every since I was married,” I wailed. “Couldn’t Conde Nast call for a vote? Summon a focus group? Just a snap of corporate fingers and it’s gone?”

I have so many memories of this wonderful publication.

The first recipe I tried was “Dill Bread Hoffman.” That recipe brought a raging battle to the “Letters to the Editor” page.

“How dare those Hoffmans steal my recipe and then name it after themselves? I submitted that recipe first.”

The pride in family recipes was very serious to the original Dill Bread bakers.Their published temper tantrum added a Country Brawl quality to the magazine.

I was bought back to one traumatic pre-Thanksgiving when my son was in second grade. He came home from school in tears. He had forgotten to tell me that bis teacher requested that the children ask their mothers to serve a typical pilgrim dinner that night.

“Everyone told the class what they had for dinner. Most kids said stuff like, turkey, corn, and squash. But when it was men turn I said Szechuan beef with Chinese mushrooms. Everyone laughed at me.”

My defense? Gourmet had featured recipes from China in the last issue.

Every month when Gourmet arrived I enjoyed a reprieve from humdrum ordinary to exotic. It connected me with famous, sophisticated chefs divulging coveted recipes.

And they were receptive to their subscribers. Once, after a vacation to La Jolla, California, I requested a recipe from Sante Ristorante. One day a letter from Gourmet arrived, containing the recipe for “Papardelle with Fennel Sauce,” compliments of the chef. Gourmet had made time to call and get the respond to my request.

Now they were being forced out of my life forever.

Is it possible to mourn a publication? I did.

Feeling the need for comfort, someone with whom to share my feelings, a way to connect with a past Gourmet experience, I found Sante Restorante and dialed their number. Rather than a greeting from the restaurant I heard a computerized voice saying that the number had been permanently disconnected.

“So they’re gone too!”

As I sorrowfully looked through the last issue ever to be published, November 2009, “A Day That Will Live In Culinary Infamy,” those annoying little post cards advertising new subscriptions kept falling out from between the pages. They were annoying before but now they were infuriating.

“I’ll show Conde Nast what I think of their company’s policy!”Searching through all the Gourmet Magazines stored on my kitchen shelves, I gathered every single postcard and mailed them back to Conde Nast.

They will have to pay for all that postage for those cards. I hope they have to declare Bankruptcy, Chapter 11, and income tax evasion.

So I wonder, “If Julia Child were here today what would she think of what I did?”


I never thought it could come to this. How could a little action on my part, or maybe a few actions on my part, derail the entire government of Italy?  As I read the headlines about their financial disaster and the thought that these economic problems could sink their government and even cause a collapse of the Euro in Europe, I hang my head in shame.

The fact that all this dire news that is shaking the world was a problem that I caused is humiliating and embarrassing. How can a few harmless acts destroy an entire country?

A whole continent?

It all started with my boots. Boots? Yes, I kept hearing about the quality and superiority of Italian leathers. On a trip to Italy I sampled these luxuries. They were soft. So soft that I could imagine wearing them as bodywear rather than footwear. Could I ever wear any other leather once becoming acquainted with Italian leathers?

This is a rhetorical question.

So I bought some and charged them to my Visa card. Don’t ask me to define ”SOME.”

After the leather find I discovered Italian silk. Near the town of Como were fabulous silk factories. Italian silks are so fine that fashion houses around the world order them for their runway collections. Could I return to the United States without buying my family and friends some of these luxuries? Another rhetorical question. I could do no such thing. So I charged more sales to the reliable Visa card.

We all love pasta, but Italian pasta and the piquant tomato sauce served with it was such a sensation that I had to share some with my friends back home. It’s a marvel that even delicate, perishable items can be shipped across the ocean. Obviously Italian goods were meant to be sent back home. I’m not the only one who does this!

By the time I was ready to leave Italy I singlehandedly boosted the Gross National Product to its all time high. There was rejoicing in the streets. it was like the New Orleans Mardi Gras without the trumpets.

But then the boom dropped.

Reliable Visa rejected my entire shopping spree. They recognized that this kind of spending did not match my regular pattern, and voided the whole amount before I could disagree.

My Visa rejection is what started the economic downfall of a beautiful, romantic and stylish country.

Vaya Con Dios, Italia. Scuzzi!


I didn’t want a fish. I don’t want a fish. Anything but another fish in this house. How many do we have, thanks to my husband’s hobby?

He has two salt water tanks, two fresh water tanks, and a koi pond outside. So a fish of my own was not what I longed for.

But it was my friend’s big birthday, she loves animals and critters, and I thought a small unobtrusive tank with one colorful Siamese Fighting Fish would be a cheerful addition to her kitchen. Her kitchen decor is overwhelmingly  blue, so I bought a blue one with long, sensual, diaphanous fins. She would love it.

But before I could present her with this sensational and thoughtful gift, she said to me,  “I’m tired of taking care of everything. As of this birthday I don’t want one more thing to take care of.”

Not even a little blue fish,? I think. After making her wishes so clear I can’t possible give her the one thing more she doesn’t want to take care of.

So here I am, stuck with fish-sitting HER fish for a few years. How long do Siamese Fighting Fish live? I wonder.

I call him/her (?)  Sparky and set its little tank in the center of the kitchen counter, surrounded by my white begonias and red kalanchoe. Suddenly my kitchen is quite bright and patriotic: red, white and blue! “OK, Sparky: dinner time!”, I say, as I drop one pellet at a time into the water. Sparky zooms up to the top to fetch his reward. He zeros in, flapping his little fins with joy, as he consumes each pellet.

Every morning I come into the kitchen and put the light on at the top of his tank. “Good morning, Sparks,” I find myself saying. “How are you today?”

He zooms to the top, recognizing a human presence nearby, hoping in his little fish heart that the human has a treat for him. His fins are working overtime. They remind me of a car’s windshield wipers adjusted to run at maximum speed.

It’s almost a year since Sparky’s arrival, and I notice a change in his behavior. Now when I drop a pellet into the tank he wanders around pathetically, trying to find it. “It’s up here, Sparkles,” I say reassuringly. I even tap lightly on the tank cover, trying to help him locate his food. I see him snap at something, only to watch the pellet float down to the bottom of the tank.

Sparky seems to be blind!

I didn’t want a fish, and now I have a handicapped, special needs fish. I feel sad and sorry for such an innocent harmless creature, who cannot even find his pellet of food in a tank the size of a basketball.

But Sparky is part of our family now, and he can expect good care in every way I can give it.


Why didn’t my mother warn me?

Sure, we spoke about the qualities a future husband should have. But the real questions? The every day life questions? What about those?

What causes dissension between two people who love each other?

The Number One reason is temperature. Temperature also accounts for numbers two, three and four. And I don’t mean the FEVER, about which Peggy Lee sang. That would be too romantic. I mean temperature settings in the house. In a constant surreptitious way the arrow gets adjusted, pushed and changed from 68 to 74 degrees all winter long. Someone is always freezing; someone is always sizzling. Why don’t couples notice this problem when they’re dating?

Then come questions about spare time. At the end of a busy day do you like to relax and put your feet up, read or watch “Dancing With the Stars?” Does he feel raring to go, ready to dash out every night to attend lectures, loud violent movies, or night court?

Is he an “Inny or an Outty”, and we’re not discussing belly buttons. Are you content to stay home and putter in the garden, while he would rather get going immediately after morning coffee to drive to the Delaware Water Gap to hike? Is exercise something you both enjoy, or did a couch potato marry a Jack LaLanne?

Arguments about vacations: beach or the mountains? Would you rather be swarmed by ravenous blood sucking mosquitoes or suffer the bites of sand fleas at the beach?

Does one of the couple prefer roughing it and camping out while the other prefer the luxury of a pampering spa experience? Why are they always married to each other?

And why does every couple consist of one junk food and one health food lover? If one is dreaming of a Big Whopper and the other searching for Numi juice and organic Tofu, there’s a conflict.

So Mom, you let me down. You didn’t tell me about the real pitfalls of marriage.

Maybe I’ll feel better after a double Big Whopper, fries and a chocolate shake!


Have you ever noticed the slick, glossy covers lurking on store racks luring us to buy magazines? What tantalizing topics hypnotize us?

Juicy gossip about the newest Hollywood glamour couple? The latest scandalous divorce? Whereabouts of the latest political sex offenders?

The number one topic trumpeting from 90% of magazine covers is weight loss. How to lose weight is a more popular subject than who will run for president in 2012. Later this year everyone will know who the candidate will be. By then even more people will want to lose weight.

Fresh from TV-land emerges the popular, winsome, toned Dr. Oz. He is as slim as a praying mantis and just as revered.

I was addicted to his show as I would be if I were a Twinkies or Yodels addict. If I couldn’t watch the show I taped it and watched it later instead of preparing dinner.

Then he Oz-ified the show by adding segments describing the most important foods to add to our diets.

Naively, I once thought a bowl of cold cereal with sliced bananas and skim milk was a good, nutritious breakfast. But now I know that by adding wheat germ, flax seeds, chia and hemp seeds I will glow with good health. My hair will shine, my teeth will whiten and my knees will think they’re 25 again. Top this with fresh berries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and I can expect to be congratulated by Willard Scott on my 100th birthday.

But does Dr. Oz have any idea of the caloric costs of these additions? He expounds more revelations: “Nuts are amazing!” Now my day is incomplete without ingesting at least twelve cashews, two brazil nuts, handfuls of almonds and scads of pistachios. And a few walnuts. And to keep my heart healthy I must include dark chocolate. I have added approximately 3,076 calories by gaining so much health. And that is only the solid food portion.What about liquid accompaniments? “Oz Law” dictates three or four glasses of calcium a day. These can be in the form of milk, enriched orange juice or a Singapore Sling with a calcium chaser. Red wine is heart healthy too. So I pour, twirl and sip some of that brew strictly in the interest of good health, strong heartbeats and a remarkably sudden cheerful disposition.

“How about mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks?” he asks. I dutifully follow his instructions at the cost of adding another 5,895 calories to the day’s intake.

At my next physical exam my doctor is impressed with my routine test results. But with great concern he warns, “You’ve got to lose all the extra weight you’ve put on this year.”

Now you will find me in front of the magazine rack, intently reading the headlines of those slick, glossy magazines previously mentioned. I continue to look for my right answer, right diet, and right guru.


After a long grueling car trip to New Hampshire we found, after a while, that we exhausted our best controversial conversational topics,  discussed the year’s best movies, tired of the CDs we had brought along and lost interest in local radio programming. Everyone was bored and restless.

Our mood had to be elevated, so I suggested,  “Here’s an exercise we used to play in our seminars. Everyone take a minute to think about this. Then we’ll each take a  turn telling the group an adjective that best describes us. The point of the exercise is to prove that we don’t see ourselves as others see us.’

Mike volunteered to start. The first word he said was “kind”. This is an impartial exercise, but my jaw must have dropped. Mike, kind? Perhaps In a Ghengis Kahn sort of way. “Did you ever see Mike coach a Little League Baseball Game?”, I was tempted to say. 

The next person to take a turn was Edith. She said, “generous.” Not that I’ve particularly noticed, but Edith, generous? She holds onto her money so tightly that her knuckles are always white. Who’s the one member of our faculty who never contributes to the emergency gift fund?

Tommy followed Edith. He said “fair minded”. Tommy must be referring to the color of his hair, because nothing about Tommy is fair minded. “That bum!” he rants furiously, if a person in political office makes a decision with which he disagrees.

Marcia chimed in with, ” my word is ‘private’.” Oh, yes; Marcia is private, alright. That’s why she ties me up every time I run into her in town, grabbing my attention to gab endlessly; describing all the pettinesses and disagreements in her family.

The eyes look toward me next. It is my turn to choose an adjective that most describes me. I will be honest, unlike the others. When I tell them my word they will immediately recognize me. “My adjective,” I say, “Is non-judgmental.”

As I told the group before we started this exercise, “Nobody sees you the way you see yourself.”


“My Dad can beat up your Dad.” A standard taunt back then. It was also my first awareness of competition. Someone can do something better than someone else.

My first childhood memory of being competitive involved trying to outsell my neighbor in a sidewalk sale. We each had a table filled with items to sell. I even had a semblance of a Business Plan: I’ll buy things she’s selling that I can sell at a higher price! She is asking only ten for that that jump rope with the fancy handles; it’s worth at least a dollar.

I took the firm action my child’s business mind deemed necessary for success. “May I buy that jump rope?” I asked.

“Sure,” she said.  With great glee and sense of advanced business acumen I handed over my ten cents and proudly placed her jump rope on my sale table. Throngs of kids will be fighting to own such a beautiful object! I waited and waited. There were no throngs, and those who did see it didn’t hold the rope in the same high regard I did. It remained on my table until dinner time, when everything had to be dismantled as is, sold or unsold.

Where did this competitiveness come from?

Can I blame it on Steve, my piano teacher, whose response to pieces I played for him each week was always, “Not bad.” It was never “Good job.” It wasn’t even “Interesting interpretation of Chopin; he probably would have loved the rock rhythm you added.”

Parents are always a handy source of blame. Maybe it was their fault: all the comparisons they made between my brother and me.

“Jerry, great save ! You kept Jamaica High’s soccer team from scoring that goal.”

“Ronnie, good job walking Rover today. He sniffed out his spot in record time. You sure have a way with animals.”

Complimenting my brother on an outstanding job was right. But to feel that they had to make up a reason to compliment me, even for an inane every day task, brought focus on the idea that Jerry and I were in a battlefield of competition.

In high school, was I invited to the popular kids’ parties? I’m not sure, but I remember asking a friend, “WHAT Sweet Sixteen Party on Saturday night?”

Then came the college application process. That’s all anybody talked about.

“How many applications are you sending?”

“What is your safe school?

“Are you applying for early admission anywhere?” That time was the most stressful competition I ever experienced.

Now personal questions cause questions in my mind that make me wonder; are they being competitive or are they just making conversation?

“Is your trip to Scotland for business or pleasure? How long will you be there? Where are you staying?” Is this friendly interest or is it judgmental? Are they evaluating the length of time I can get away and my category of accommodations? Did John Glenn face these kind of interrogations when he rocketed into space?

I once thought that when you grew up everything changed. But the big life surprise is that competition never ends. It’s there when you buy a house, choose a car, or decide what international skirmishes the United States should enter.

And the competition moves forward to your children and your grandchildren. “Does he walk yet? When did he start talking? Does she have aspirations for the Olympic team?”

After much thought, I have discovered the final competition: Now I know when it finally ends. It will be the last bit of news anyone will ever ask about me. I am convinced that at the very end of life’s journey some people will ask, “Did her obituary make it into in the New York Times?”


(The names of the characters in this story have been changed to protect the identities of both grouchy and sunny dispositioned people herein.)

My friend,  Martha, is visiting from New York for the day and brought her neighbor, Harriet, with her. It is a June Sunday and the weather is beautiful. I suggest taking a walk in Loantaka Park.

Harriet immediately asks, ” Is it buggy there? I hate being swarmed by mosquitoes.”

“I’ve never noticed any particular mosquito swarms there; Loantaka is my favorite place to walk,” I say, reassuringly.

Martha agrees, “It’s a perfect Sunday for a walk. That reminds me of the show by Stephen Sondheim, “Sunday in the Park with George, and she starts singing, “Isn’t it rich, are we a pair? Me with my feet on the ground at last, You in mid-air?”

“Great song,” I say, but that one is from Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.”

“I’m not a fan of Sondheim’s,” Harriet scowls. Neither of us comment on Harriet’s musical tastes.

As we drive towards the park entrance we see a policeman, directing lines of cars into and out of the park, an unusual sight at Loantaka Park.

“Oh, something’s going on here today. Look at all the people wearing blue T shirts and carrying balloons,” I say.

“I thought we were going for a quiet peaceful Sunday walk. With all these people around I might just as well have stayed in the city,” whines Harriet.

“Oh, look; they’re walking for a cause,” says Martha. “What do their shirts say?”

“Sure, I know the old story: everyone has a gripe; everyone is marching for something or demonstrating about something,” comments Harriet.

When we finally find a parking spot we see the marchers at close enough range to read “Walk for the Arthritis Cure” on the blue T shirts, and a few “Agile Ankles” on white T shirts.

“Oh, great,” says Harriet disapprovingly. “There goes our peace and quiet. Look over there; some of the marchers have small noisy children with them and some even brought their yappy dogs.”

“I wish we’d known that this walk was planned today,” says Martha. “I would have bought  a blue T Shirt and joined them.”

“Maybe we should go somewhere else and leave the crowds behind,” Harriet sounds off again.”

Martha and I have stopped responding to Harriet. We can’t cheer her up or change her perspective, and we’re not going to let her ruin our good time. We all get out of the car and head for the path.

“What a treacherous trail,” says Harriet. “Watch out; here come some bikers. They could run right into somebody.” We proceed down the path and receive another of her dour comments, “Oh those people are blocking our way with their little kids on tricycles. ”

We try to concentrate on the lovely day, the congenial happy people around us and the good cause they are representing.

Martha and I are becoming intolerant of Harriet’s constant complaining. As one of my holistic friends would say, “She is polluting our environment with her negativism.”

Everyone has an off day, and we hope Harriet hasn’t any serious problems that are causing her constant eruption of unhappy thoughts. We wish her well, but wish even more that she would take her complaining somewhere else and keep her dark, unhappy thoughts to herself. We want to enjoy one of the few “Top 10 Summer Days in the Park.”

It is too easy to forget that this year, 2011, set weather records all over the world for devastating, damaging and deadly conditions. I am grateful that the severe, difficult winter is over and that we have such a lovely summer day. It is sad that some people cannot see gloriously perfect conditions when they’re right in the middle of them.


We were vacationing in Wyoming, excited about our first visit to Yellowstone National Park. The hotel in Jackson Hole was lovely; the rental  car was new, and it was a beautiful summer day. My husband, our son Mark and I decided to get an early start for the drive to Yellowstone the next morning.

The attendant brought the car up from the garage and we drove off. When we got on the road Mark commented that the apples we had left in the car  the night before were missing, as were the bottles of water. My husband rationalized by saying,

“In Wyoming there are strict rules about removing anything edible that bears might find tempting. The parking attendant was probably complying with the rules”

That seemed logical, and we continued on our way.

At our first rest stop Mark offhandedly said to me.

“I never liked blue cars because they seem to change their color throughout the day. The shade of blue changes with the sun’s angle”.

“You’re right” I agreed. “Now the color looks more gray than blue.”

Back on the road, we ventured higher up into the mountain range. In another hour we finally saw the sign to “Old Faithful”. I glanced at the dashboard clock to see how long the trip had taken. Oddly, there seemed to be a problem with the clock. The time hadn’t advanced. This was a new development; yesterday it was working perfectly.

We lost our civilized Eastern identities as soon as we came to the prehistoric-looking park. Steam spewed from the earth and bubbling mud pots perked away. Eerie sounds arose from deep inside subterranean earthy places. “Old Faithful,” nature’s creative story, erupts and spews boiling hot water one hundred feet high. And “Old Faithful” repeats this naturely trick every two hours.

Much later, sated with natural vistas and wildlife sightings, we began our drive back to Jackson Hole. My husband asked me for the directions he had put in the car last night.

They were gone.

“Wait a minute,” he said. “Where is the rental agreement?” He looked in the glove compartment. It was empty.

“I know I put the rental papers in the glove compartment last night. I always  do that in rental cars.”

Mark noticed some papers peeking out from under the visor and pulled them down. Then the shock hit. All the coincidences of the day suddenly made sense. The missing apples and bottled water. The subtle change in the car’s color. The non-functioning clock. The missing rental agreement.

The papers listed the registeree as Mr. Thomas Gill.

We were in the wrong car! The parking attendant brought us the wrong car this morning!

The car was registered to Mr. Thomas Gill. What would happen when Mr. Gill requested his car? Obviously it wouldn’t be in the garage. It would be missing. We were driving it. The staff would report the missing car to the police, assuming it had been stolen. And if we were stopped we couldn’t prove why we were driving Mr. Gill’s car. It wasn’t from the same rental company we used, so his rental company wouldn’t have any record of who we were. If we were in an accident we would not be covered by insurance. And our cell phones were out of service range, so we couldn’t call the hotel or the car rental company to explain the mistake.

The last thing we expected right then was a traffic jam. A traffic jam in the middle of the wilderness. Was there road construction, an accident, a disabled car? Here in the great state of Wyoming traffic jams were caused by other factors.

Factors such as a herd of buffalo crossing into civilization from buffalo land by way of our highway. The tourists in cars ahead of us were thrilled. They abandoned their cars. Just left them in the middle of the road to get closer to the beasts and take pictures. Then, as if it weren’t bad enough to be surrounded by wild buffalo, one lazy animal decided to lie down right in the middle of the road. The tourists went wild! They couldn’t get enough of the buffalo scene. The bisons seemed to be enjoying their fifteen minutes of fame. No one but us was in the slightest hurry.

The police in at least three states were probably looking for us by now for car theft and impersonating Mr. Gill.

A whole new mountain range formed by a slow moving glacier could have been formed by the time the road was cleared.

That evening, finally back at the hotel, we were treated like celebrities. The hotel manager presented us with vouchers for free dinners, paid for the day’s gasoline and waived the hotel garage’s daily parking fee.

Everyone seemed to know about the car mixup. Each encounter with a staff member brought the same response,

“You’re the people who drove the wrong car today.”

Our misadventure was big news throughout the resort.

We never did meet Mr. Gill.

Send It, Tend It or End it

Send it, Tend it or End it

I finally understand what the postal service has been doing all these years.The function of the US Postal Service is clear. It is not what you assume, not what you think and not what you ever thought. Bringing bills, annual holiday cards and junk mail to our homes is what we always thought was their mission.

Not so.

After years of paying attention and becoming aware of Postal techniques I began to realize that the hidden mission of the Postal Service is to do everything they can to create reasons for people to meet and come together. Postal workers have developed a clever way to achieve this goal.

It’s a little known company policy known as DWMWP, or “Deliver the wrong mail to the wrong people.”

This policy is implemented with the Post office’s low tech answer to Twitter. They don’t tweet: they send messages inconspicuously. Nobody knows about their secret methods, or even that they ARE methods.

Did you really think it was a coincidence that so many envelopes addressed to other people living at other addresses somehow arrive regularly in your mailbox?

The mail personnel count on most people making the effort to track down the true recipients of the mail. Then the person receiving the wrong mail calls the intentionally wronged party to say,

“The mailman brought me an oversized envelope with your name on it, containing personal financial information and a special notice from the IRA. Would you like to see it?”

The wronged party and intended party then make arrangements to meet and exchange mail or to meet and decry the terrible state of mail service these days. But they will meet, and that’s the point.

I received a package from Chico’s addressed to someone several blocks away. I looked up her phone number on “” and called.

“Hello, June. We haven’t met, but I’m a neighbor of yours. The postman delivered a package from Chico’s addressed to you.”

“Oh, I’ve been waiting for that package. Would it be alright if I came right over to pick it up?” She was at my front door ringing the bell almost before I could hang up the phone. Before she came inside she removed her shoes.

“I have been trained by my new Japanese daughter-in-law,” she said. “Yoko insists that I take my shoes off before entering her house.” June was a delightful woman with a charming British accent. “I have worked at AT&T for sixteen years but now I’m nervous. We’re all waiting for an announcement of another massive layoff. None of us knows whether or not we still have jobs.”

Considering the dire news she was contemplating she was cheerful and positive. I would welcome her as a friend.

Another time I received a package clearly addressed to “The Reverend Daniel J. Kim” His address contained the same house number as ours, but on a street around the corner. I called his house and spoke to his wife, who said, “Please come over.”

I did, and thought, when else in my life would I have an opportunity to meet a Korean minister?

I was impressed with the calm, serene aura they exuded. Their home had gentle, peaceful music playing that relaxed me the moment Mrs. Kim opened the door. “We do not know many neighbors,” she said. “Everyone is in such a hurry.” I understand that comment very well. My busy life needs more of their influence.

Then, on the oppostite spectum of misdelivered mail, was the Party Planner. But that’s a whole other story leaving me with the question, “Are all party planners outspoken, overpowering, and opinionated?

And how many romances have developed from postal “mistakes?” The numbers, if revealed, would probably put “” to shame.

“My birthday card had mistakenly been delivered to him and he came over to bring it to me. It was love at first sight.”

“I was deep in thought writing a summary to a term paper, when the phone rang and I heard that voice. She told me about a mistake in a mail delivery. Is that what my horoscope meant when it predicted that something special would happen today?”

Testimonials abound.

The next time you receive a parcel or envelope addressed to someone else, wink back at the postman and say,” I ‘m onto your secret mission and I understand the covert operations of the U.S. Postal Service.

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