The Post Office, The Rock, and Timid Little Me

automated-postal-centerYou know what the best thing is about the Christmas season? The absolute bestest thing?

Yeah, sure, you got your presents, the decorations, the yummy food. That’s all well and good.

But the best thing – the super cool bestest thing – is being able to send packages using the Magical Mystical Mailing Machine.

Have you ever used one? I’m telling ya, they’re great! You can do everything at one of these babies. Buy stamps, weigh a package, print a stamp for your package. The works!

Plus, it’s got this amazing ability to figure out where you’re sending a package, by only knowing one letter of a street name!


And so it was that last week I took my packages to the Post Office and, in so doing, encountered Magic, Heroism, and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

Okay, fine. It wasn’t really like that.

But it was darn close! Here’s what happened for real

Jump to Recipe

The beauty of an automated postal machine is that you can access it at any time. Even at 7:00 pm on a Sunday, which is when I went. Fully expecting not to meet a single soul.

Instead, I find a couple inside the darkened room. The woman is standing in front of the Magical Mystical Mailing Machine. The man is at the big turning drum next to it. (The drum where you deposit packages, which is what I plan on doing after I use the Magical Mystical Mailing Machine.)

Side note: the big turning drum may have an official government name, but beings how I don’t know it, for the sake of convenience we’ll call it the Big Turning Drum.

“It’s stuck,” the woman says, as soon as I enter the room. That’s when I notice the man is sliding a thin piece of cardboard alongside the Big Turning Drum. He pulls the drum’s handle to demonstrate. It moves about an inch, then clunks.

“It’s too full,” he explains.

“I called the number,” the woman continues, pointing at the drum’s label. “They said they’ll come by and clear it.”

“Ah … okay … um …” I reply, in my usual articulate manner. “Uh … I’ll just come back tomorrow.” I turn toward the door.

“Don’t go!” she says quickly. “They’re on their way. It won’t be long.”

I hesitate. “Uh … yeah, but how far away are they?” I picture someone driving across town. (Are there postal employees on call to fix Big Turning Drums?)

“No, they’re here. They’re working back there.”

The man confirms this. “We can hear them,” he said. “They got music going and everything.”

I can’t hear anything. I look at her. I look at him. I don’t want to stay, but I don’t feel cleared to leave.

“You should call them,” the woman tells me.


“Two calls are better than one,” she says.

You can’t argue with logic like that, but there’s no way in hell I’m calling a postal employee – one who’s working late on a Sunday – to nag about getting a bin emptied. I mean, there’s a reason we have the phrase going postal, right?

“Listen lady,” I say. “I won’t be calling nobody!

What?” she says, shocked by my threatening tone.

“Just step away from the Machine and let me weigh my package.” I walk towards her. She cowers as I —

Okay, fine. I didn’t really say that.

Back up to the ‘going postal’ bit.  After that I say:
“Uh… um… actually, I just wanna use the… uh…” I point behind her.

“The machine? Oh, okay.”

She joins the man at the Big Turning Drum. I step up to the Magical Mystical Mailing Machine, set my package on the scale, and proceed to answer the screen’s questions.

I wish to mail a package/letter
No, it does not contain toxic chemicals/live animals/dangerous weapons and/or illegal substances
Yes, it will fit in the bin (assuming we can open the bin)

I key in the zip code and house number. It asks for the first letter of the street name.
I love this part!
I tap the ‘L’ key. The next screen shows me the entire address.
Is this the correct address? the machine prompts.

YES! Yes it is! Bravo, Magical Mystical Mailing Machine!

I swipe my card, print the stamp, attach it to my package, pat the machine for a job well done.

I step back to resume the wait. The woman is muttering many derisive comments regarding postal workers, the Post Office, the state of mailing in general.

A door opens. We hear footsteps down the hall.

“Finally!” exclaims the woman.

I look around the corner. A man entered the building through a side door and is now approaching us.

It’s Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

Okay, fine. It wasn’t really The Rock.

But I swear, he looked just like him! No kidding!

He walks into the room and stops. Then he smiles at us. Just as you’d expect The Rock to smile at the sight of three people standing in a empty post office on a Sunday evening.

luke-hobbs-at-the-post-officeThe woman says, “Oh,” in a real disappointed tone. As though The Rock isn’t way better than any stinkin’ postal employee.

“Looks like this is the place to be,” The Rock says.

The man and I laugh. The woman explains the problem.

“Oh,” says The Rock. “Well, I only have a letter to post.” He moves past us easily – make that gracefully – toward the slot.

“Excuse me, sir?” I say cautiously, eyeing his strong arms, his beefy pecs.

“Yes, ma’am?”

“Well, sir, I was wondering if maybe you could help us?”

He looks at me with a sympathetic smile. “Well, I’d like to, pretty lady. But you see, Daddy’s gotta go to work.”

“Oh, I understand that,” I say. “And kudos to you for working in that line. But I’m sure just one move on your part, and all will be free.”

He nods. “I’ll see what I can do.”

He steps in front of the Big Turning Drum, a menacing look on his face.

But the woman is doubtful. “Did you bring the cavalry?” she asks.

luke-hobbs-punching-the-mail-box“Woman, I am the cavalry.”

And with that, he swings his fist at the drum!


The Big Turning Drum is clear!

We cheer and erupt into applause! The Rock smiles modestly, accepts our gratitude, autographs our packages. He stays a while to pose for photographs, then we…

Okay, fine. It didn’t really happen that way.

Back up to where he moved gracefully toward the mail slot.

He puts his envelope in the slot, wishes us well, and leaves the way he came. The three of us resume our wait.

Finally the man decides to call the number on the drum. He talks awhile, then hangs up. “It won’t be cleared until tomorrow,” he says. “They don’t have a key for the bin.”

What?” the woman exclaims.

I’m the first one out the door.

We should have asked The Rock.

Rock Salad

  • Servings: about 4
  • Difficulty: fast and furiously simple
  • Print

Raisins, Onion, Cashews and Kale – aren’t we clever? Nutritious and extremely tasty, perfect for the hero lurking inside you.


  • kale-salad4 cups shredded kale, ribs removed (pack tightly when measuring)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cashews
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey (more if you prefer it sweeter)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

Mix kale, onion, raisins and cashews in a large bowl.

Whisk together yogurt, honey and lemon juice in a small bowl. (Taste to see if it’s sweet enough; add more honey if needed.) Pour over salad and mix well.

Refrigerate at least an hour before serving, or make a day ahead. Keeps well for about three days, if it lasts that long.

14 thoughts on “The Post Office, The Rock, and Timid Little Me

  1. Pow! Foom! Bang! Crash!
    I loved this story, perked me right up. I don’t think we have magical mailing mystery machines yet, but I shall keep my eye out for one. I may have to start carrying a package around just in case. 🙂

  2. But HOW does it know, there must be many streets that begin with the same letter!!!! I think it is just trying to fool you, and actually scans your handwriting – it’s a conspiracy I tell you. 🙂
    Love the story.

  3. I really admire your bravery around anything called a Big Turning Drum. With my luck, I would probably fall INTO it and eventually find myself in Istanbul, confused and really annoyed that my phone was now on roaming…

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