Checking the mail can be a bit depressing.
Sometimes there isn't anything in there. Nope, nothing at all. Just one big, empty mailbox telling the world that everybody forgot about you today.
Then again, the alternative is typically a fistful of bills and flyers. Someone's selling air conditioners, your car payment's due, and the pizza place down the street has a new crust. All nice to know, of course. Just kind of boring ... kind of bland ... kind of blah.
But that's what makes it so great when something with actual handwriting on it turns up in the mail. Those little endangered parcels have something very special about them. For instance:
Feel that ink. If you're lucky enough to score a full-on letter, you know how good it feels to hold that pen-scratched masterpiece. Both sides of the paper are all carved up, and it sort of crisps and crinkles in your hand. It's got a certain texture to it that feels very real and honest -- like the person who wrote it put a bit of themselves in that envelope and sent it over. If I was a tree, I like to think I'd be proud if my slaughtered, pulpy remains were used for a letter like that. Seriously, it would bring a tear to my leaf.
It smells. Sure, sometimes it may not smell too strong, but then there's the occasional letter that has a whiff of hand cream or perfume on it. And really, anything's better than the smell of mass-ironed printer ink, especially if the ink's real cheap and powdery and flakes off in the paper folds. Then you get it on your pants and under your fingernails, and for what? So American Express could tell you about their new interest rate?
The complete package. When you get a handwritten letter in the mail, it's got a whole different look and feel to it. It's a complete package. It's a wedding thank-you card in the small red envelope, with the perfectly placed stamp, and the translucent tissue paper. Or it's the letter from your kid at camp, with the smeared pencil and mud stains on it. It's licked shut real tight, there's a spelling mistake in your address, and the letter is folded thick, causing the envelope to puff out at the seams.
There's nothing like it. Because no two handwritten letters are really the same. You know whoever wrote it spent a lot more time scratching it out than you did reading it. And they wrote it just for you, in their personal handwriting, with their pen and paper, and they paid to mail it to you. I don't care how small and cold your heart may be -- you have to admit that's pretty cool.
Of course, the biggest reason why getting something handwritten is great is because it's just so darned rare. I mean, for most people, you're more likely to see Halley's Comet crash into Big Foot while he's riding the Loch Ness Monster than to actually get a full-blown note from a friend.
So I say treasure those handwritten notes, when you get 'em, if you get 'em. And if you don't, there's a pretty easy way to start receiving them.
Man, just send a couple.