The United States Postal Service and the Wisdom of a Six Year-Old

Today, half-way through week two of quarantine, the kids spent an hour drawing pictures and writing letters to their grandparents and great-grandmother. After they finished, we helped them stuff their drawings into envelopes and addressed them for the mail tomorrow.

Tonight, as I’m sitting in my son’s room waiting for him to fall asleep, he’s performing his favorite stalling tactic of peppering me with any and all questions about life, the universe, and everything in-between. After a quiet moment, he sits up and asks…

Daddy? Why does mail need antelopes?


Why do we need antelopes to send mail to G-mo’s house? Why can’t the mailman just take it to her?

At this point I’m so incredibly confused. And then it finally dawns on me…

No, buddy. Not antelopes. You put your letters in envelopes to protect them and keep them safe until they get there.

I guess the US Postal Service just must have been on his mind tonight, because a few minutes later…

Daddy? Why do you always throw away the mail after you take it out of the mailbox?

Because most of it is junk mail. It’s stuff we don’t want.

Why do people send you mail you don’t want?

Junk mail is like mail with commercials on it. People send it to us because they want us to buy stuff from them.

Why don’t they just call it garbage mail instead?

I gotta give it to him. That’s actually a way better name for it.

And then, finally, a few minutes after that…

The mailman comes in the morning, right?


Why don’t we just talk to him and tell him not to bring us garbage mail anymore?

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