Helen Chappell - November 2010


P. O. Box 666 - What's In There?
Helen Chappell

A friend of mine who recently retired as postmaster of a small town told me that people around here don’t like to rent post office boxes numbered 13 or 666.
Well, you know me (or you should by now: I’m delightful and charming:-)). I started thinking about this. Thirteen is, of course, considered an unlucky number. But 666, according to Revelations, is the number of the Beast, which to a lot of us means the devil. Post Office Box 666. Hmmmmm.
Which, of course, leads me to ponder. I do a lot of pondering. My mind goes blank at the Y while I’m working out, when I’m washing dishes or cleaning house or supposed to be writing on deadline, and it just fills up with ridiculous what-ifs.
Now, if Satan rented Post Office Box 666, and I’m not saying he does, what kind of mail would he get?
I’m sure there would be a lot of junk mail addressed to OCCUPANT, because no one, not even Satan, escapes junk mail. There will be ads for tire places and trash removal and stuff like that. Then there’s the solicitations for charity, even though Satan never gives to charity.
Does his mail come addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Nick Oldscratch? Is there a Mrs. Satan? Well, there has to be. We’re talking about Hell here. Does it come addressed to Nick Oldscratch, Esq.? In his line of work, lawyering must be important.
I’m sure the big evil stuff goes to his office, where a pool of personal assistants sort it out, so the everyday stuff, Hannah Arendt’s banality of evil mail, if you will, probably comes to P. O. Box 666.
I imagine the Satans subscribe to magazines. Lots of magazines. Architectural Digest is probably one they look forward to every month: all those luxurious, trend-setting exteriors and interiors must be of great interest to anyone who’s trendy. And you can bet the devil is trendier than you’ll ever be.
State-of-the-art conspicuous consumption material goods are a big part of his business, after all. Where would he put his evil behind if not on an uncomfortable, post-modern purple and gray pleather couch designed by some demented artiste from Milan? So, yes, he’s big on Architectural Digest.
And I bet he looks forward to his weekly issue of People. After all, so many of his clients are in there, week after week. Hey, it takes a lot of contract negotiations with the Hellish Heavy Hitter himself to achieve that level of fame and money with absolutely no visible talent or conscience. Yep, reads his People in the bathroom, just like the rest of us.
I’m also guessing he subscribes enthusiastically to Vanity Fair, Time, Guns and Ammo, Barron’s, Evil Deeds Weekly and Soldier of Fortune, among many other fine, fine publications. He reads the Wall Street Journal online. Satan is nothing if not up-to-date.
Bills? I’m sure he gets bills, and I’m sure he’s at least three months behind on his payments. But his credit rating is 850, a perfect score. Why? Because he’s Satan, dammit! Who do you think was a majority stockholder in every utility company you can think of? (And, yes, I’m looking at you, Verizon!)
Satan also gets quarterly reports from his investments in munitions, whatever production company makes those shows on TV you just can’t stand, sugary kids’ cereals and the company that manufactures those robo-calls you get from candidates during election years.
And, I might add, Satan also snail mails big checks to every PAC there is, but mostly supports the extreme lunatic fringe wing of whatever your personal political party is. And to top it off, he puts his stamps on the envelopes just far enough to the left or the south that the machine can’t cancel them and they have to be pulled and cancelled by hand. Satan is an equal opportunity annoyer. It’s how he rolls.
And speaking of how he rolls, I just know he parks in the handicapped space closest to the building, even though he doesn’t have a handicapped permit. He’s just that mean.
I imagine Satan gets plenty of catalogs. I bet he gets the ones with the tee shirts that have “clever” sayings on them. (I’m finger-quoting “clever” here). Catalogs stuffed with useless plastic dreck you can live without, like a baseball cap with beer can holders. And I bet he buys it all and gives it to people for birthdays and Christmas, because he’s just that kind of guy.
And I’m just nosy enough to wonder what comes in those plain brown boxes he has to pick up from the postal clerk because they won’t fit into his box. As i speculated above, it’s probably rayon neckties with the wrong ballfield on them and drinking glasses that say “X’s Tavern,” you being X and those glasses being something you would immediately take to a thrift shop. Nightgowns with cute kittens on them...plaques that say “Put On Your Big Girl Panties And Just Deal With It,” that’s what he gets in those boxes.
I don’t even want to contemplate his birthday and holiday cards. Even Hallmark can’t make a card that celebrates Mr. Not Nice Guy.
And I even bet Satan never, ever recycles his junk mail.