Thursday, November 15, 2007

Making Friends With My Mailbox

I imagine I’m not the only who has suffered from issues with her mailbox. I know Mailbox Anxiety Syndrome afflicts writers in greater numbers than non-writers, but anyone can develop an aversion to what the mailbox holds. For writers, MAS may begin with rejection slips. In my case, MAS resulted from bills, notices from the IRS, and incomprehensible insurance mumbo jumbo (that always resulted in more bills). Rejection notices didn’t help. In the final stages, I suffered from the associated syndromes of Junk Mail Terrors and Obsessive Shredding Disorder. I was a certified MAS with JMT and OSD. (Right now, a pharmaceutical company is probably working on a drug to treat these disorders. Look for the inevitable commercial.)

As silly as it sounds, I began avoiding my mailbox. Since it conveniently sits in my next-door neighbor’s front yard, right next to the walking path I use every day, this should tell you just how strong my powers of avoidance are. There it was every day, that hulking grey box that held those ugly little pieces of mail. When I could no longer put off picking up my mail, my stomach would twist into knots as I approached the Evil Mailbox. My heart would start pounding before I got the key in the lock. I dreaded its contents. That’s how the JMT began – because I let the junk mail accumulate like… well, like junk mail. Even rabbits can’t reproduce that fast. For many obvious reasons, I had to do something to correct my MAS.

To non-writers, my solution may sound wacko, but I expect writers will appreciate my solution to MAS. I made friends with my mailbox. I began by imagining it as my mail butler, or the doorman I’ll (probably) never have. My mental image of Mr. Mailbox, as I so unimaginatively refer to him, is a cross between a Walt Disney-style walking and talking inanimate object (think Beauty and the Beast) and his actual government-issued appearance. He has a slight British accent. Lately, I’ve been giving him pats after I pick up the mail. Okay, so maybe other writers will also think I’m wacko, but it works for me. I’ve overcome my MAS, and my JMT is under control. Now, the OSD… well, that’s a topic for another day.
Photo information: The innocent Mr. Mailbox.

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