?Staring down the Apocalypse and mailing a letter?

Published 1:47 pm Thursday, October 22, 2009

When you&squo;re a college student whose grasp on responsibility is tenuous at best and you have roommates as I do, you develop a kind of system for living with each other.&bsp; This generally means that each roommate has certain responsibilities delegated to him so that the house runs smoothly and doesn&squo;t explode on any given day.In my house, my main responsibility is bills. I&squo;m the one who figures out when they&squo;re due and then collects the payment from everybody and then sends it off. This is, by all accounts, not a very hard thing to remember to do.However, it must be taken into consideration that I&squo;m a fairly forgetful young fellow.&bsp; My general attitude towards this absentmindedness is pretty Zen ‐ I figure if I&squo;ve forgotten something, it couldn&squo;t have been that important to begin with.&bsp; So I steer my boat of life with a calm demeanor, myriad unfinished tasks in my wake.The only problem with this is that sometimes I do forget important things. Like paying bills. Which is my responsibility in my house. Do you see where this might be a problem?&bsp; So my roommate Tyler, in his infinite wisdom and grace, offered to trade vacuum duties (which can be accomplished pretty much whenever, as opposed to bills, which are on a pretty tight deadline) for my bill duties on the condition that I buy him a book of postage stamps so he could send the bills off from home instead of having to go to the post office and buy a stamp every time we had a bill. I saw no problem with this.There turned out to be a little issue that both of us should have guessed was coming ‐ I forgot to buy stamps. I went for days, telling Tyler that I would pick up some stamps at the post office in the morning, and every day, all my purpose and determination of 7 a.m. evaporated by mid-morning when I was just trying to figure out where I could buy a banana.&bsp; This cycle of stamp-forgetting/banana-buying continued until last night at 8:15 p.m., when I realized that I needed to buy stamps.Having enough good sense about me to know that the post office was closed at night, I fired up my trusty Subaru and headed to the store that I thought had everything ‐ Wal-Mart.To my infinite surprise, I discovered that Wal-Mart does not in fact sell stamps.&bsp; I discovered this startling truth when I moseyed up to the customer service counter and asked for some, and the customer service lady looked at me like I asked her for weapons-grade plutonium. &dquo;We don&squo;t sell those,&dquo; she said. &dquo;Try Food Lion.&dquo;After misunderstanding her directions to Food Lion, taking a wrong turn, and ending up at a different Food Lion than the one to which she had directed me, I went inside and asked for stamps. I was told, &dquo;Well, we&squo;ve got stamps. They&squo;re &squo;Forever Stamps.&squo;&dquo;&dquo;What does that mean?&dquo; I queried.&dquo;If you buy these stamps,&dquo; said the bored-looking teenager at the cash register, &dquo;you can use them forever no matter how much postage goes up.&dquo;This sounded like a complete and total scam to me, and I called the guy on it. &dquo;Okay, but what if the United States government succumbs to global imperialism?&bsp; Will the new regime make me buy new stamps?&dquo;Wordlessly, he rang me up.&bsp; I do not think he was pleased with my flippancy. So now I&squo;ve got a vested interest in the United States not going under before I can send 20 letters to people. Great.