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It’s the Little Things that Grate


At the risk of going into full Andy Rooney mode ….

About once a year or so a newspaper will carry a story about the misuse of U.S. Postal Service property, specifically about absconding with dumpster-bound mailing boxes or those handy white plastic crates they use to hold mail. See here or here or here. This story usually alternates with the one about hijacking plastic milk crates, those beloved components of makeshift bookshelves in dorm-rooms across the fruited plain.

Dragooned to a local courthouse this morning (irony alert: I had to miss a presentation on tort reform because of a lawsuit) I noticed that the records for my case were being kept in those very same handy white plastic crates, clearly labeled property of the U.S. Postal Service. I found it satisfying to witness the (technically illegal, no?) misuse of government property inside a courthouse. For Pete’s sake, it says right there on the box: “Maximum penalty for theft or misuse of postal property $1,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment.” Government functionaries enjoy generous stores of arrogance in matters great and trivial, and that’s worth keeping in mind. There are some conservatives who believe that the IRS or the EPA can be tamed and put to conservative ends. I doubt it.


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