An Official Unofficial Creed

Unless you live or work in Manhattan, odds are that you don’t know the official name of the main United States Postal Service building in New York City. No need for Google or Siri: It’s the James A. Farley Building.

Named after America’s 53rd Postmaster General, the Farley Building sits along 8th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets and is accessed by a wide flight of steps that rises toward a series of stately columns. The colonnaded facade is imposing, but, for me, its real claim to fame is the inscription it bears:

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

The words are taken from a longer quote by the Greek historian Herotodus, and though he was referring to “couriers” of the ancient Persian Empire, the inscription has been synonymous with America’s letter carriers since the Farley Building opened in 1914.

But those twenty-one words aren’t just synonymous with America’s letter carriers; they’re the official creed of the United States Postal Service.

Right?

Well . . . like snail mail, not so fast.

In fact, those twenty-one words are officially just an inscription and nothing more.

Again, no need for Google or Siri: Its a fact, according to the USPS.

Did you know that?

I didn’t . . . until recently, when my local post office went to “war”–it was really more of a “talk-of-the-neighborhood to-do”–with the management of my apartment complex over doggy stations located next to cluster mailboxes.

Here are a wide shot of one of the battlefields and a close-up of one of the paper shots that started the “war”:

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After a brief cease-fire, during which time the containers were regularly emptied, the paper shots flew again:

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The doggy stations were moved soon after, quieting the guns and ending the “war.” All hail the victorious USPS!

Thankfully, I wasn’t was one of the tenants whose snail mail became a refugee–or was it a prisoner?–during the “war.” What I took away from it all were a few irony-induced chuckles and digital proof that the USPS’s official unofficial creed is indeed a load of crap (pun intended). Thank goodness I’ve become enlightened to that fact. Otherwise, I’d still be living in snowy, rainy, hot, gloomy ignorance.

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