Back when our scholarship committee was switching our scholarship over from postal mail to e-mail, I made a joke on one of our websites about the U.S. Postal Service. I know, I know – you’re thinking, “That’s impossible! How could you possibly find something negative to say about the U.S. Postal Service?” I don’t remember exactly what it was that I said, but I know it wasn’t cruel or spiteful – it went something like, “there’s no reason to line the pockets of the USPS anymore, because we’re now accepting submissions only via email.” If you’ve read this far, you already know that I have little love in my heart for the USPS, so I think I did pretty well by restricting my comments to just that.
I mean, really, it could’ve been a lot worse. I didn’t mention their propensity to lose and destroy mail and never lift a finger to take responsibility or offer compensation for it. I didn’t mention that they hike stamp prices more often that the rest of us hike up our pants. I didn’t mention that you can stand in line at a U.S. Post Office longer than some kids stand in line to get a PlayStation 3, and I didn’t mention that the customer service skills make the Department of Motor Vehicles look like the Ritz-Carlton. And last but not least, I didn’t mention that every couple of years, one unlucky post office becomes a shooting gallery after a nutso package-sorter brings an assault rifle to work and decides to play a real-life version of Metal Gear Solid with anyone who comes into his field of vision.
A week or so later, we got a nasty email from a high school senior who insisted that she was certain she was qualified to win our scholarship – but refused to enter due to our “alarming and insensitive” comments about the post office.
Her letter left me with several observations: 1) Who loves the United States Postal Service so much that they would both write a letter of outrage about such an innocuous comment, and refuse to enter our scholarship contest in protest of that comment? Maybe both her parents were mail carriers; 2) Good, don’t apply. That’s one more essay I don’t have to read before I go home and play with my children; 3) I actually feel a little bit sorry for her. If she really was “alarmed” by the post office crack, then she is in for a very rough go in this crazy, unpredictable world.
The moral of the story is this (yes, there’s actually a lesson here, not just an excuse for me to rant): Don’t waste your time lecturing the committee. Trust me, they’ll get plenty of good applicants with or without yours. If you don’t enter, no one will care or even notice. Except maybe your parents, who will have to dig into their savings to pay your college the money that you could’ve won with the scholarship.