Just Letter Go, My Friend

by Jason Tudor

I am not a fan of paperwork. Of any kind. It's all evil. So, when it came time to mail six packages to family and friends at Christmas, I flinched.

We live overseas. That means every package we send needs a completed US customs form. Six packages? Six customs forms. Five minutes for each form. That's 30 minutes of my life I could have spent reading Charlie Sheen tweets or alphabetizing the spices in the kitchen.

I packed each of the six boxes November 28, 2010, a Monday. Most were gifts I'd created for family and friends. Like a man who'd just finished cleaning the house on the spur of the moment (the "no prompting" kind that earns us praise and a sex coupon), I was very proud to see these off. Once packed, I set them beside my desk upstairs and thought, "I'll send them off Friday."

Well, Friday came. And went.

Then another.

Then another.

Then another.

Flash forward to April 10. Yes. THE MOST RECENT April 10, where I sat beside my desk staring at the stack of unmailed packages. My wife walked up.

"Send these out," she said, "or I'm throwing all of it away."

As the clock ticked, she told me repeatedly that "this would not be one of those times I bail you out. You have to do it yourself." She used he same tone that also means a sex coupon has expired, so I knew she was serious.

"Why did you wait so long?"

I explained my seeding hatred for filling out the customs forms. Sure, I could have gone to the post office, picked up the forms, brought them home and completed them over the period of (ahem) five months. But I didn't. Also, I just figured she'd bail me out.

Instead, she laughed. Off to the post office I went.

By now, six packages had now grown to eight, including one bound for Australia. I found eight customs forms and began filling them out. To put you in the right mood ... you know that thing that you hate so much it makes your eyes twitch, stomach churn and fists clinch until the knuckles are white? Whatever that thing is to you, it's angel food cake to me. Filling out forms is kick in the balls that time forgot -- over and over and over again.

Eight times writing my address. Eight times writing someone else's address. Eight times checking the word "gift." Eight times believing an eternity spent as one of those suckers who dies in a Stephen King book would be better than this. After just over 30 minutes, I hauled the boxes up to the counter. The attendant stared at me.

"Wrong forms," she said. "You need the other customs forms."

Head explode. Rinse. Repeat.

Eventually, I finished and mailed the packages out. And those packages, embarrassingly, arrived five months after they were due. Really. Hold your applause.

And you'd think this would be the place to write, "And he moral of the story is ..." unfortunately, two packages' destinations were mixed up and are on their way back to me. When they come back, I'll need to send them off in the right direction.

Talk to you in August.

Jason Tudor's experiments with fusion-powered turtleneck sweaters and genetically engineered eggplants have given him the strength to continue writing and podcasting mostly about science fiction and the coming galactic battle between earthlings and mutated toilet brushes from Alpha Centauri. You can find out more at his website, www.jasontudor.com, which will be up and running again May 1.


  1. LMAO!! I hate going to the post office too but, holy wow....

    psst...Your sex coupons expire? ;)

  2. To plan ahead and get things where they're supposed to be on time, start procrastinating six months beforehand. At least.

  3. Look at it this way, Jason. You sent out your 2011 Christmas gifts eight months EARLY.

  4. The good news? My wife had sent all those people cards and gifts. These were just things I wanted to send as extras.

  5. I hope those packages didn't contain baked goods!

  6. LOL! I know I won't mail things, so I don't pack 'em in the first place. I send the person a nice e-mail telling them what they could have had. My friend list is a lot shorter than it used to be.

  7. Oh, dude. The wrong ones? I feel your pain. My husband and I flip a quarter when it's time to send something internationally. (Which is far too often for his eBay business.)

    The thing that makes me feel this way? Painting walls.


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