(after Paul Jennings)

You’ve probably come across this in old literature, as I have—the legendary “second post.” And not only in quaintly British settings. Even in the U.S.—and real-life elders confirm this—people used to receive mail twice a day.

Now I’m not about to fall into the misguided “good old days” fallacy. All I’m saying is that I find the idea of the “second post” to be mildly intoxicating.

It’s not that I’m dazzled by the concept of further postal convenience per se. Really, once a day is quite a nice service, and I don‘t see why the national resources should be stretched beyond that—especially with phones, faxes, and e-mail abounding. No, what excites me really about the Second Post idea is not a difference in the frequency of mail delivered, but rather in the content.

You see, I’m convinced that the Second Post contains all sorts of magical mail not found in the more prosaic first post. Here are all those thrilling professional offers and fascinating personal letters which we vaguely miss each day after going through the ordinary mail. In the Second Post, the postal service would fully indulge the world of glamorous correspondence, having gotten all the dull stuff out of the way in the course of the first post. Who knows—there might be entire genres of fun mail that we who have known only “first mail” our whole lives are not even aware of.

What’s heartening is to think that if they ever do revive the Second Post, there will be inconceivable quantities of delightful back mail waiting for each of us.

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Copyright © Jonathan Caws-Elwitt. This page revised February 12, 2009.