I thought that my home was my castle,
With no one scrutinizing me,
No pigs, no liars, no hassle,
Y’all are brutalizing me.

Can’t a man not drink his beer in silence?
Can’t a man not crudely lie and scream?
Can’t a man not control his world with violence?
Y’all are brutalizing me.
-Mandy Patinkin as Ronnie Dobbs*

Brutalized. Debased. Cheapened. Corrupted. Debauched. Enfeebled. Reduced. Weakened. Contaminated. Depreciated. Abated. Eviscerated. Decimated. Plundered. Ravaged. Dismantled. Annihilated. Massacred. Obliterated. Extirpated. Expunged. Desecrated.

I had two experiences last week where I was brutalized.

First, I went to the Ames Post Office with a stack of birthday barbecue invites. I approached the counter and asked simply if these cards would make it to their destinations with a postcard stamp, as opposed to a regular first class stamp.

The woman looked at the picture on the card and then measured the card. She assured me that the card was the right size and it would be delivered. Then she turned the card over and paused.

“This won’t go through. The address is sideways.”

Then she left and talked to her supervisor. He came back with her and told me the same thing. These cards could not be delivered because the address was sideways.

The address on the cards last year was sideways.

My mailman friend Greg has always told me that as long as there is enough postage and a discernible address, the post office will deliver it.

Every Sunday I look at the PostSecret website. I’ve seen postcards delivered that have addresses scribbled every way imaginable.

But in Ames, the post office can’t deliver anything where the address is slightly askew.

I left feeling somewhat bewildered, but I knew one thing:

People from Boone are smarter than people from Ames.

I went to Boone and put the stamps on a few test postcards and dropped them off at the Boone post office.

You know what?

The good employees of the Boone post office didn’t let me down. They proved their intelligence.

They were able to figure out how to take this…

And do this!

Problem solving intelligence!

The test postcards were all delivered. I dropped off the rest of the invitations on Saturday. I do have confirmation that 1 invitation was delivered in Ames, so apparently they were able to figure out this little trick on their own. Or perhaps the Boone post office sent along instructions.

I don’t know, but hopefully if you made the cut, your invitation has arrived by now.

If you thought that you were going to make the cut and haven’t received an invite yet, contact me and I will either explain why you didn’t make the cut (poor hygiene, do too many drugs, don’t do enough drugs, Kansas City Chiefs fan) or I will rectify the situation.

This year should be a smaller cozier barbecue. Even my eldest sister has turned down an invite.

She explained that she couldn’t celebrate the anniversary of one of the worst days of her life. Not quite as bad as the day Carla was born, but pretty bad still…

The other brutalization I endured last week occurred on Sunday. I did the photography for the program of a community theater group’s most recent production. Even though I would not consider myself a member of the crew, I was forced to submit a biography for the program.

What I submitted was not eloquent, but it was a far cry from the brutalization that happened to my words.


What it says:

Christopher’s involvement with the theater has been, until this time, limited to sitting in a theater watching movies. He is currently Vice President of the Boone United Methodist Men. He claims to have a prowess at basketball with an, “unstoppable crossover dribble, unlimited shooting range and tenacious rebounding and lock down defense.” However he freely admits that this prowess is limited to playgrounds and gymnasiums.

I’m not going to tackle everything that is wrong with this complete and utter butchering of what I submitted, (such as the use of quotation marks to indicate a quote, but then misquoting me!) but I will dwell a second on the dreadful last sentence.

What?!?!? I hope nobody looked at that sentence and thought that I wrote this biography. My limited reputation as a wordsmith will be obliterated into a thousand pieces. Besides being completely unnecessary, my “prowess is limited to playgrounds and gymnasiums” is a ridiculous statement! As opposed to the other places where people play basketball?

Lesson learned though. I will never give up editorial control again. Even for something as inconsequential as a biography.

I don’t have much of a reputation, but what I have I would like to keep intact!

*I did slightly vary the lyrics to this song because in context, it is hilarious satire, but out of context it would seem unnecessarily vicious.

5 thoughts on “Transmorgify”

  1. I remember that we had a postman come to our 3rd grade class, and he said you could mail a shoe without boxing it up, as long as the address and stamp were discernable. What’s so difficult about turning this sideways?

    The biography just as easily and specifically could have read, “However he freely admits that this prowess is limited to basketball hoops and courts.”

  2. I know I shouldn’t be as frustrated with the biography thing as I am, BUT if they would have just given me a word count what I would have written would have been the best written thing affiliated with the play. Yes, including the play.

    As it stands, my original rough submission is the best written thing affiliated with the play.

    The misquoting was annoying, but minor. They added an extra “and” into the sentence that adds to how stupid it makes me look for having “written” this thing.

  3. I really want to try mailing a shoe or other inanimate object now Angie! I suppose that wouldn’t go over well since I’m friends with the postal union president though.

    Relax Chris! Yes, it was slightly carved, but not totally butchered. It’s still the most eye-catching biography on the page. It will still make the audience smile & catches their attention, which is the point after all. Most of them won’t remember word for word what it says, just the feeling & gist that they get out of it.

  4. Chris, I think you’re overlooking the obvious answer. Jealousy and self-preservation. If the audience is reading and captivated by your profile instead of watching the play (which sounds like the writing may be mediocre, if I’m gathering correctly?), the actors will be jealous. The audience will become outraged that they paid good money for writing that so obviously pales to yours, and that makes them look bad. It’s all self-preservation.

    Dawn, you’ll have to let me know how the shoe-mailing goes! I was just trying to think of something that might be less heavy, thus making the experiment cost less… but my creativity is failing me!

  5. That was a butchering. Plain and simple. In fact, touching any of my words is a butchering. Ham-handed butchering.

    Angie, your theory has some merit.

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