I got a really strange note this week. It was in an Express Mail envelope with my street address written in sharpie on the outside and crammed into my mailbox. I recently moved into a new place with my fiancée and so some of the mail we get is a little odd to begin with, but this was of particular note. It had no stamps or postage.
When I opened it, I found a piece of mail for me (an AT&T advertisement disguised as a bill) and the letter just to the right of these words. The letter explained that there were problems with "unleashed or loose dog(s)" around my house and, as a result, the letter carrier could not deliver the mail on December 13. "This has become so serious that your Letter Carrier is not able to deliver your mail safely."
I stared at the letter rather perplexed because, to mangle a quote from Wayne's World for my purpose here, I don't have a dog let alone many dogs that would necessitate a letter.
The letter continued that they were concerned for the safety of the postal worker, which is reasonable -- but then went on to say, "We are asking your cooperation in making certain that all dogs in your neighborhood are properly secured, either behind a fence or tied away from the mail receptable." Yes, "receptable."
My first thought was, "What the hell is a 'receptable'?" My second thought was, "Um, how exactly am I going to make certain all dogs in my neighborhood -- a fairly good sized, northside 'hood -- are properly secured?" Should I go door to door and ask for support from the neighbors who I either barely know or don't know at all? Should I start some sort of organization that handles this problem like a neighborhood watch or, better yet, a militia? We could have little berets and arm patches, carry walkie talkies and rain terror down upon all who reside here.
Maybe I could draw up the loose plans of a homeowners' association, take it around to all the neighbors and get them to sign it, allowing me to lay the hammer down on any would-be violators, and by "lay the hammer down" I of course mean politely ask them to place their sweet dog in a safe area.
This all seemed a bit much considering I just moved in and I know nothing of militas and HOAs. Would I need permits? Could I unilaterally impose martial law? Was world (and dog) domination in my future?
Fortunately, I continued reading to the part that said, "If the dogs are strays, then please contact Animal Control." Oh, so if they aren't mine, how did you manage to choose my house for this letter? And, to be quite honest, Animal Control could set up an entire task force dedicated solely to my new 'hood and it would take perhaps years to round up all the strays. It's sad, but I didn't invent this problem and I certainly have not added to it.
On Thursday, I managed to catch my mail carrier as she brought some stuff from Amazon to my door (Christmas, suckas!), and I asked her about the letter. Apparently, she was on vacation and that note came from her fill-in. She says she normally avoids the strays in the neighborhood and has figured out just where they are a problem. She suggested if I do see any strays, which I do with regularity, I really should call Animal Control to make it safer for everyone.
She was super nice and I felt better, which is good because I had already been looking into stun guns and paramilitary equipment. I was drawing up tactical plans and had ordered copies of land tracts for the neighborhood from the city planning department. I even invested in some expensive aviator sunglasses I imagined I'd put on when some dog owner refused my gentle request to remove their hound from the street and say, "I guess the dog days of summer are upon us. YEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHH!"
Thankfully, I can go back to writing...because the pen is truly mightier than the sword. YEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!