My 5-star Yelp review of the Stuyvesant Town post office
I hit a rough patch in 2009 after getting laid off from the Steampunk mill. My savings evaporated, and I was unable to afford rent on my loft. Moving back home wasn’t an option, as I had always been the “sasspot” of the family. Faced with homelessness, I turned to the one place that had always been there for me when life got tough.
As savvy apartment-hunters know, many post offices in Manhattan have large walk-in P.O. boxes, relics of the early 20th century originally built for large firms that received a high volume of mail. Fax and email obsoleted these boxes, so nowadays a guy like me can rent a studio P.O. box for as little as $200/month.
I lived in P.O. Box 963, which was last rented by “Stick Stickly,” some sicko who apparently corresponded with children. Some of the mail was still there when I moved in, so in my spare time I responded to the kids.
Dear Stick Stickly,
I made a drawing of you. Will you put it on TV?
My television program has long since been canceled due to low ratings. So obviously the answer is no. Please do not write again.
Dear Stick Stickly,
Do you have a girlfriend?
Stick Stickly’s program is no longer on the air, and he is dead. This is Virgil Texas. To answer your question, it’s complicated. This girl Belaura who works at the post office in Astoria always says hi to me when I come in, so I’m essentially in the entry stages of a relationship. I detect a sexual subtext to your missive. Are you propositioning me? Please know that I DON’T play games. If you’re serious about the post office scene, and you’re not here to jerk me around, then respond with photos of yourself. None of that MySpace angle crap.
None of the kids wrote back, except for one who had grown up and started a fight club in Newark. I went to one fight. It was basically a “straight” j/o party, which in my view is pretty faithful to the film.
My landlord was an ebony woman named Yenta. We had a funny “Murphy Brown”-type relationship. I’d ask her to turn up the heat, and she’d say zingers like “Are you living in there?” or “Get out, idiot!” Yet beneath the surface we both knew she couldn’t evict me. It is against federal law for any unauthorized user—including a postal worker—to remove legal mail from a P.O. box, and since the Helen Keller stamp tattoo I got on my lower back from the 80s “Mail Yourself!” fad constituted legal postage, I had an ironclad lease.
Since I wasn’t allowed to use the employee restroom, defecation was a challenge. I couldn’t use the McDonald’s on 14th street as I had been banned for having a loud argument with my friend Jim over whether Grimace was an Uncle Tom. Luckily my P.O. apartment contained a chute that led to the mail processing area. Whenever I felt the urge, I would squat over an empty Taco Bell box, put a stamp and Ray Tomlinson’s address on it, and drop it down the chute. Yes, it’s perfectly legal to mail human feces unless it violates the “Reagan rule” banning the shipping of body fluids from AIDS patients.
My neighbors were mostly homeless people and trust fund posers doing the “postal thing.” The hipsters invited me to their box parties, but we didn’t really get along since they were all about taking shrooms, and I didn’t like psychedelics because of the time I licked an entire sheet of LSD by accident because I thought the blotters were tiny postage stamps, and I endured two weeks hallucinating that a giant 69-cent stamp bearing my mother’s image was chasing me through Manhattan yelling insults about my penis size, even though posters on MULTIPLE penis size message boards have confirmed that I am average. Eventually Stamp Mother ate me, and in her stomach I disintegrated into pure energy, and I saw God, and He looked like Mr. Zip, and He compiled the essence of my Being into an envelope, and He put me in Heaven’s mailbox, then He took a smoke break, and when I woke up, I was on a trash barge eating trash with the barge admiral who told me the EXACT SAME THING happened to him when he took LSD, and it encouraged him to get his life together and enlist in the garbage navy.
In a few months, I managed to scrape together enough money to move out from my new job working for the Youth Sales Club, which enlists entrepreneurs like me to sell catalog merchandise like candles and greeting cards door-to-door in exchange for cool prizes like Discmans and BMX bikes. Everyone at the post office bought stuff and let me solicit the customers. They even refused service to anyone who didn’t buy from me, which was very touching. On moving day, as the postal employees helped me pack my furniture and Stick Stickly mail and unused Taco Bell boxes, I felt a genuine sense of community for the first time since getting laid off. All the folks at this office—even Yenta, whom I finally seduced the night before leaving—possess boundless compassion. They serve everyone in society through good weather and bad. Correction, Village People: It’s fun to stay at the USPS.