On behalf of all Canadians, I ask the United Nations Security Council to invade our country and arrest our Prime Minister. Your blue-helmeted soldiers will be greeted here as liberators. After you’ve installed a new, nicer government for us, then the U.N. can leave Canada, with our gratitude.
Why? Because our Prime Minister, Steve Harper, has gone rogue. Forget about the crazy dictator in North Korea and deal with the one in northern North America. Steve must be toppled, as he is a threat to all we hold dear.
A few months ago, for example, Steve declared that the Bank of Canada would no longer issue pennies. Almost overnight, pennies disappeared from stores; now our smallest coin is the five-cent nickel. A typical bully, Steve picked on the smallest and most defenceless denomination. If he tried to get rid of the beloved quarter or the powerful twenty-dollar bill, that would at least show courage. But no, cowardly Steve discontinued the humble penny — which, due to its copper colouration, was a visible minority among coins — and ordered the survivors to be hunted down and melted. What did pennies ever do to him, to justify such a vicious revenge?
A few days ago, the P.M. swung his chainsaw at another innocent target, announcing the end of home mail delivery by Canada Post — making Canada the first Western country to take this radical step. Starting next year, paper mail won’t arrive in the mailbox on my front porch anymore. I’ll have to start going to some centralized “superbox,” like all my neighbours, to pick up mail. This is mildly inconvenient to me, but more worrying is the effect of this on mail-carriers. Apparently, none of them will lose their jobs. However, instead of walking door to door (which is great exercise — have you ever seen a mail carrier without well-toned legs?), they are going to spend their days driving little vans to superboxes, surely making their legs soft and flabby — thanks a lot, Steve! As someone who works from home, one of the highlights of my day is peeking through the blinds to observe our mail carrier as she strides across our lawn. When Steve sticks her into a van, there’ll be almost nothing to watch outside my window but squirrels.
As a writer, the loss of home mail delivery touches me emotionally. In my teens and twenties, I mailed hundreds of copies of short stories and novels to editors and publishers, who would A) remove my literary effort from the envelope it arrived in, B) put it inside a self-addressed stamped envelope that I’d included, C) add a pre-printed rejection form and D) mail it back to me. I hoped for another step in that process — the actual reading of my literary effort — but was never sure if it happened or not. Sometimes I’d find my mailbox stuffed full of self-addressed stamped envelopes, overflowing with rejection. The constant “no, no, no, no” from the lit industry was not nice, but I liked the fact that I was out there trying. This, I told myself, is how I pay my dues. And one day, after years of rejection letters, I got an acceptance letter. I was so happy I wanted to sprint down the street and give our mail carrier a hug! (Well, to be frank, that was only part of the reason I wanted to go hug her — she had very nice legs.)
Steve Harper’s plan ends that. Well, actually, the process of mailing sheets of paper to editors and publishers, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, died out a long time before this, due to email and cheap printing. And I realize that, due to e-billing and other technologies, the amount of paper mail handled by Canada Post is going down year after year. Soon it’ll consist of 99.9% junk mail (advertising cards, coupon-jammed envelopes, tax-funded “Action Plan” propaganda from Steve’s government, etc.) and 0.1% hand-written letters from computer-free people, who apparently still exist. After mail goes to superboxes, that won’t be the end of the process — no, the next step will be ending paper mail altogether, replacing it with the mysterious tubes and wires of the internet.
I have no love for junk-mail — which I immediately throw, ninja-star style, into our recycling bin (sometimes, while making ninja noises, like “Wah!” or “Taste this, samurai!”) — but I feel for the low-tech people out there, who don’t want to be forced into the e-world. Why is Steve shoving the internet down their throats? Maybe, as a young man, he found a letter in his mailbox — “Dear Steve, I hope we can be friends, but …” — that broke his heart; is that the subconscious reason he is chopping so much from Canada Post’s budget?
Whatever the psychological motive behind Steve’s attack on paper mail — and the murder of the penny — the important thing is that the international community step in soon and stop this mad tyrant before he gets another idea. If the leaders of the U.N. invasion force worry about getting lost in Canada and not being able to find Steve’s house to arrest him, just ask for directions from the people who best know Canada’s neighbourhoods: our wonderful mail carriers.
Under a new, U.N.-backed government of Canada, universal home mail delivery (and the penny!) will return.
Celebrating Canadians will toss flowers and donuts out our windows when our mail carriers (and their toned legs!) return in triumph to our driveways, porches and front lawns.