We must stamp out individualized mailbox expression

One of the great things about living in the suburbs is that we don’t waste our time with freedoms of expression.

  • Friday, May 30, 2008 12:39pm
  • Life

One of the great things about living in the suburbs is that we don’t waste our time with freedoms of expression.

In fact, for many of us, our subdivided, strip-mall paradises act as sort of a Witness Protection Program for our personalities. Sure, there may have been a time when we wanted to own subterranean, eco-friendly custom homes heated by moonlight. But then we grew up.

It takes a lot of energy to be individuals — energy that’s better spent making sure our kids have the same brands of clothes as their classmates. We find comfort in the fact that everyone in our neighborhood has a house in one of four styles. We appreciate our conformity — it helps us feel like we’re on the right track in life. And that’s why an individual form of expression — specifically a cat-shaped mailbox — threatens to breach our security and must be brought down, brought down hard.

So to preserve our beautifully bland existence, I hereby issue the following edict: all people with cat-shaped mailboxes (or other custom mailboxes) have 30 days to replace them with the standard metal canisters, complete with red, flag-shaped outgoing-mail flags.

I mean, who do you think you are, cat-shaped-mailbox person? What makes you think you can thrust your fondness for cats upon the rest of the neighborhood? Don’t you know there are dog lovers living around you? Why do your force them to drive by your house, constantly noticing that your mailbox uses the cat’s tail to cleverly double as the outgoing-mail flag? What gives you the right to come off like an individual with interests different from ours?

Person with a cat-shaped mailbox, you ought to be ashamed of yourself! Don’t you know what you’re doing? The suburbs have a magical way of maintaining the status quo. If you persist in keeping your piece of personal flair, soon other neighbors will feel compelled to put up lighthouse-themed mailboxes, or even just paint daisies on the sides of their regular mailboxes. Before you know it, someone’s got a Model-T replica mailbox that, when you lift up the hood to deposit the mail, lets out a battery-powered honk.

This epidemic of mailbox expression must be stopped immediately or, before we know it, we’ll be able to tell our houses apart from each other. Gone will be the wonderful days of accidentally pulling into a neighbor’s garage because he’s got the same floor plan as you.

And finally, let me say that although the tyranny of cute, personalized mailboxes must be ruthlessly stamped out, we should not turn our suburban backs on all forms of art or expression. So long as it’s on public property, there’s nothing wrong with a cement cow statue, or a copper replica of an old man sitting on a bench.

In the right place, we should embrace art — so long as it isn’t too interesting or thought-provoking. If we wanted to think, we’d go to work. Time’s too valuable to just sit around and think for free.

Jeremy Greenberg is a writer, comedian and resident of Kirkland. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Relative Discomfort: The Family Survival Guide (Andrews McMeel). Learn more at www.jeremygreenberg.com.

More in Life

Celebrate volunteers at Green Kirkland Day

More than 2,000 volunteers help maintain the community’s healthy forests.

Coldwell Banker Bain launches monthly dinners for Imagine Housing’s Velocity community

Office brokers and staff establish support for affordable housing services.

Courtesy photo
Entering the winter real estate market – what to expect

Over the last five months, there has been more inventory than in previous years previously.

Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers stay at No. 1 on Roots Music Reports blues chart. From left: Brian Olendorf, Noel Barnes, Patrick McDanel, Michele D’Amour, Dave Delzotto and Jeff Cornell. Photo courtesy of Michele D’Amour.
Kirkland-based blues band tops national charts with new album

Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers stay at No. 1 on Roots Music Reports blues chart.

The new campus officially opened Oct. 1. Enrollment is still open. Photo courtesy of Jeannine Hanson.
Chestnut Montessori opens second campus in Kirkland

The new campus will be able to hold 12 students.

Halloween activities for the whole family

Halloween events are being held throughout the whole Eastside.

LWHS English teacher publishes poetry book

‘The Difference Between Solitude and Loneliness’ is seven years in the making; teacher’s dream come true.

The Locke family gathered to officially name the pavilion in honor of Kirkland’s first City Manager, Al Locke. Photo Courtesy of the City of Kirkland.
Marina Park Pavilion named after Kirkland’s first city manager

Community members attend ceremony in honor of former city manager, Al Locke, on Oct. 13.

Viva Volunteers! Fair on tap Oct. 20

Attendees will learn about opportunities to make a difference in their community.

Kirkland hosts second City Hall for All

The event focused on diversity, inclusion and city issues.