Sunday, June 03, 2007

A sad story, and my snarky response.

This happened a few years ago. I found it shocking, truly sad. But maybe i am just a snob. Tell me your reaction.

This was a conversation i overheard at the post office between the clerk and the woman right ahead of me in line, who was buying stamps.

Clerk: What stamps would you like? We have Love stamps, Herman Melville stamps and Flag stamps.

Woman: Who is Herman Melville?

Clerk: I don't know, people have been asking that all day and no one knows.

Woman: Why would they make a stamp for a person nobody knows?

Clerk: I have no idea.

Me: (thinking) i can't stand it.

I did tell the clerk who he was when it was my turn. And it's not so bad that these two women didn't know, but that NO ONE knew all day.

Next up: the Lindsey Lohan stamp. She's puking on the side of the road while Paris Hilton holds her hair and Britney Spears flashes her snatch.

45 comments:

Lucia said...

At least people would know who Lindsey and Paris and Britney are since we're bombarded with "news" about them 24/7. Lindsey pukes. Paris goes to jail. Britney continues to be a terrible mom.

jen said...

that is sad. very sad. makes one wonder if we know what the flag stamp is really about, either. let alone the love one.

i remember you, herman.

urban-urchin said...

Lindsey, Paris and Britney the trifecta of VD. Maybe it'll be a safe sex stamp- a warning of sorts.

That's really really sad no one knew Melville.

SUEB0B said...

I'll bet Zora Neal Hurston was a puzzlement, then.

Herman Melville. He was the dad on the Munsters, right?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I prefer my stamps without puke on them. Or snatch hairs.

Call me IshMAIL. (hee hee.)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

When the Zora Neale Hurston stamp came out, I jumped up and down with delight. Right before I told the Postmaster who she was.

luckyzmom said...

Love the squash blossum two centers.

Moby Dick must not be required reading as it was when I went to high school. Shame.

mrschili said...

SERIOUSLY?! Ugh. It just makes me so sad. No WONDER my job is getting harder and harder...

Toni said...

Yep- it is because the 'classics' are no longer read! People in general are stupid.

QT said...

How does someone get through high school without reading Moby Dick? Is it possible to graduate now without even having to know how to READ if one so chooses?

QT said...

Also - how did you keep your mouth shut? You deserve some kind of award - seriously.

Lisa said...

Ah, a fitting stamp for the Bush era.
You could write for Go Fug Yourself.

gr said...

At least our celebrity heroes stood for something? Maybe?
I have heard those chicks referred to as the 'trashy tarts'. ::snort, snicker::

Sober Briquette said...

Well, even though it's shocking that no one knew, I am pleasantly surprised that people were asking instead of not. I can't believe the clerk(s) in the post office wouldn't get that information ASAP. I mean, just to alleviate the boredom of the job.

The latest Brittney story just makes me sad.

patches said...

I'm glad they don't feature many politicians on stamps. That's where I have identification issues, I recognize our fearless leader and his cabinet of mushrooms...any further down the pecking order, I don't bother unless they say something witty.

Poor Herman. His memory has drowned in the depths of pop culture....or was it on the banned book list. They ban so many now. Free speech my ass.

Bob said...

It seems like education in this country has been streamlined so that it's only purpose is to prepare kids for a job. Colleges too. Who needs to know anything about Moby Dick to be able to ask if you want fries with your burger?

The dumbing down of America.

Gordo The Geek said...

It makes my heart weep to hear things like that. I owe much of my exposure to the classics to my superb Grade 6 teacher. Mr. Turcotte more or less through the curriculum out the window (the suggested atrs, not mandatory ones) and taught The Iliad and Latin and writing with fountain pens. There are so few who are able to do this any more. Is it any wonder that he left the public school system and started a private school?

Jodi said...

another reason i'm bombarding my children with books at home. read, read, read!!!!

people are scary.

jodi

Lynn said...

A bit of useless trivia...Twelve's Fifth grade teacher, was a decendant of Herman Melville. And fortunately, Twelve did not have to read 'Moby Dick' in 5th grade;~)

Ortizzle said...

That is pathetic. It reminds me of those man-on-the-street spontaneous interviews where they ask people 'common knowledge' questions and it is always amazing the ignorance that abounds. I remember once, on Flag Day (coming up soon!), they asked dozens of people if they knew who Betsy Ross was. Not one person. One of my favorite answers was, "Didn't she write a cookbook or something with Martha Stewart?"

Maggie said...

Gary, I think 'trashy tart' is a gross understatement. Ha.

Meno, I'm wondering why the clerk didn't bother to find out? As she was selling them for goodness sakes. But I guess I'm forgetting that when you have a gov'mint job you don't have to do any homework...

Lee said...

What are stamps? :)

Scott from Oregon said...

I hated that long-winded flatulent SOB.

How come he got a stamp?

Well OK. I didn't hate him. I just couldn't tolerate his writing style. Why do so many "classics" have to be so long-winded?

Sanjay said...

Not snarky at all, you don't make stamps for just anybody right? They should know, esp the USPS person.

liv said...

What UU said...the trifecta indeed! Poor Mr. Melville. He did some fine work, ummm, whoever he was...

(joking!)

TTQ said...

Nothing like a little snark to go with my Cheerios in the morning! *Yay*

Personally, I would like to see the Lindsay stamp where she is passed out in her SUV (mouth agape), One of Paris in prison garb, and a Britany shaving her head.

It would be like the super hero stamps I had to buy because they were out of everything in that size sheet..seriously I hate those Marvel Comic stamps.

thailandchani said...

That's pathetic! They didn't know who Herman Melville is...

Oh, geez. I'm going to Thailand now. Good luck!

(laughing)


Peace,

~Chani

meno said...

lucia, it never changes does it? Sad.

jen, we clearly don't know what he Love stamp is about.

u-u, "trifecta of VD" ha ha haha ha. I think i'll have t-shirts made up of that and send them each one.

suebob, probably NOBODY knew who she was. The Munsters, heh!

hearts, very clever! I can't see why you don't want pubes or puke on your stamps!

luckyzmom, Em didn't have to read it, but she knows who he was.

mrs.chili, i know, it is sad. Sigh.

toni, people are stupid. I like that!

qt, i guess if you hang around the schools long enough, they'll let you graduate eventually, despite your reading skills.

lisa, sadly, it would be fitting.

gary, i like urban-urchin's description better, "The trifecta of VD." Trashy tarts is too mild.

de, i suppose it's good that they were asking, but still....

patches, how about a generic politician stamp featuring mushrooms?

bob, you said it brother!

meno said...

gordo, good teachers are hard to find, and then the public schools do their best to break their spirits.

jodi, no time spent reading to your kids is ever wasted. Good for you.

lynn, i think 5th grade might be a tad young for the great white whale.

ortizzle, sigh. It's like pissing in the ocean to try and educate some people.

maggie, i don't know, i was too depressed to ask. Good question though.

lee, ha ha ha ha. *snort* Thanks for that!

scott, he was a bit much wasn't he? I prefer the homo-erotic Billy Budd, which at least had a plot.

sanjay, you'd think that wouldn't you?

liv, you can be sure that i will be using the line "the trifecta of VD" frequently from now on.

ttq,Give me marvel comics over the tarts anyday though.

chani, go now chani, and hurry. It's getting scarier here by the minute.

Susanne said...

Yes, it's shocking. Even I know who Melville is and I'm not even American. (Neither have I read the book. Sorry.)

egan said...

The guy who wrote a whale book, sweet. I know of him, but his writing does bore me.

Caro said...

Saying Moby Dick is long-winded is the understatement of the year. I couldn't bear going trough the whole thing. I was pretty young though, maybe I'll try again. Who am I kidding?

Carla said...

I would have had the same reaction. The fact that no one knew...that's pretty sad.

Anonymous said...

We have the Queen on our stamps, so anything's an improvement.

I don't think it's soooo unbelievable that no one knew about Melville. I suspect there are some that I've read that would mean nothing to you...

...and Lindsay Lohan may go on to write the Great American Novel.

Lazy

floribunda said...

my favorite recent PO story was the woman who wanted to buy 18 cents worth of 2-cent stamps -- neither she nor the clerk could figure out how many stamps that would be -- so she ended up buying 1-cent stamps instead. (I have no idea how she knew she wanted 18 cents worth to start with...)

Irrelephant said...

Meno, I weep with you for the world. And I can't tell if it's the gene pool getting shallower or if people really WANT to be stupid.

And no, I've never read Melville, but I know Moby. Perhaps things like passion and obsession only matter nowadays when it involves idiots doing idiotic things?

meno said...

susanne, it's boring, so don't bother. But at least you know who he is.

egan, Moby Dick IS boring. You won't get any argument from me about that.

caro, you really don't need to read it. i was just an obsessive teenager when i did.

carla, i do shake my head over it. Kids these days! :)

Lazy, i KNOW there are some you've read that i've never heard of, but Melville? He's pretty famous. Also 2+2=4.

floribunda, Really? oh my god. That's even sadder.

irrelpant, i don't know either, but it's depressing. Don't bother reading Moby, it's not worth the trouble, unless you need a soporific.

stella said...

very sad indeed.

then again. i was an english major. i would have to know who Melville is.

Mother of Invention said...

That IS pretty bad! I'm a Canadian and even I know. I'd like to think that many of us here know who he is.

flutter said...

Oh how I love you. And how I hate popular culture.

AC said...

Start carrying around a copy of Billy Budd and force read it to the unwashed. That'll teach 'em.

Princess in Galoshes said...

Sadly, I think it's hard for our ADD culture to retain the works of authors who were paid by the word.

GEWELS said...

I am constantly amazed at the illiteracy that I encounter every day. Not that they were illiterate but still, to not know who Herman Melville was- come on!!!
It's shameful!

sari said...

I can't say he knows Herman Melville's name yet, but even my eight year old knows about Moby Dick.

Sheesh.

Now I'm off to put some Star Wars stamps on a few bills.

meno said...

stella, english major or no, a person should still havre some culture beyond TV.

moi, see!!?? If Canadians know, us 'mericans should too.

flutter, back at you!

ac, *packing the book into my purse for next time.*

princess, Dickens was paid by the word too, and you can sure tell.

gewels, i was pretty shocked that no one had known all day. C'mon people!

sari, that's because you are a great mom and your kid is smart.