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Monday, October 29th, 2007

Time Event
Uncle Sam would bring it by the parcel post

My brother's weird post office anecdote: he had to mail off something during his lunch hour to ``someplace'' in Michigan -- he didn't specify what something, although given his recent news I can take a fair guess. Along the way he happened to walk past a building which was an office of the place he was mailing the ``thing'' to, although it seemed to him that he couldn't just deliver it in person. He got to the post office, and the postage came to a hefty 82 cents. You'd think this would be the easy part, but it turns out that at that particular postal substation the manager had decided that there was exactly one employee trusted to handle cash, and that person, of course, was not in. They refused to take his money and he had to put it on his debit card; fortunately, he had easily five dollars in that account. He's been doing much better saving at his new job, and he hasn't gone mad yet.

For comparison, I've had a bit of weird post office activity which should surprise everyone who has never heard a word from me, ever. I was at the post office because I needed a stamp to mail in my paycheck. My main bank in the United States, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation -- founded in London for the far east trade, where by the way despite branches every twenty meters I couldn't do my banking for Singapore -- doesn't have branches in New Jersey, so I have to do everything remote anyway.

Now: since I never seem satisfied with something that simple, I said, ``I'd like a pair of stamps, please.'' He looked confused and asked what I wanted. ``Just a pair of stamps.'' This was the problem: what did I mean by ``a pair''? I said I meant ``two'', and that got it. He just couldn't think of what a ``pair'' meant when applied to stamps, and laughed at his own confusion. He also asked that I not tell any of his coworkers. I suppose it's possible one of them might read this, but since the dozen or so people whom I know read this reliably are definitely not employed there this is probably a safe risk to run.

Trivia: The New York Stock Exchange governors considered closing early during the crash of 29 October 1929, but decided that would only worsen the panic. Source: Anxious Decades: America in Prosperity and Depression, 1920-1941, Michael E Parrish.

Currently Reading: 1941: The Greatest Year In Sports, Mike Vaccaro.

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