Sunday, August 04, 2013

I Did It My Way

One-a-Day Redux
Day Four:  Letterbox

I've always had great enthusiasm for my own ideas, but sometimes I've implemented them without realizing that I didn't have as much information as I needed. Even though I'm aware of this trait, I can't seem to help it. According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I'm an INTJ, and it's part of my personality.

I tweak things: blog posts, digital photos, recipes, you name it. Unless a book totally absorbs my attention, I will occasionally go back and reread a few sentences, restructuring them as I go to make them better. Please understand that I don't necessarily succeed in improving things, but that's always my intention when I start making a little change here, a little correction there.

I'm sure it wasn't the first time it happened, but one of the earliest times I remember deliberately deviating from specific instructions was in 1953, about a month before my 11th birthday. My great-grandmother, Dora, had just passed away. A couple of days after the funeral, my grandmother handed me a dollar bill and a stack of sealed, addressed envelopes containing thank-you notes and entrusted me with the responsibility of walking one block to the drugstore, where I was to buy stamps (which were three cents each in those days), place one on each envelope, then drop all the envelopes in the mailbox on the corner. Simple enough, right?

As I walked down the front steps, I casually flipped through the envelopes and noticed that more than half of them were addressed to neighbors. That's when I got a better idea. I quickly shuffled the envelopes into order according to my new, better plan. As I walked down to the corner, I knocked on doors and hand-delivered thank-you notes to the neighbors on our side of the street, then continued on to the drugstore, where I bought stamps, stuck them carefully on the envelopes addressed to non-neighbors, and dropped those in the mailbox. That done, I crossed the street and hand-delivered envelopes to neighbors on that side as I made my way home.

When I reached our house, Mammaw asked what took me so long. I handed her some change and the extra stamps and was quite proud to tell her what I'd done to cut at least one full day out of the post office's delivery time, not to mention saving her some money. She was embarrassed but not angry, thank goodness, and she took that opportunity to calmly explain to me the etiquette of mailing thank-you notes. Then I was embarrassed.

Still, if it weren't for that etiquette thing, you have to admit my idea was more efficient.


  1. At least you were honest, motivated by improvement. Most kids would have used the saved postage to buy a soda or candy. I probably fall into that category.

    1. Maybe I just don't remember the part about buying candy. It could have happened.


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