Not Just Delivering Joy to Letter Carriers: The Unbearable and Compelling Ridiculousness of Decorated Mailboxes

Admit it. It’s scary out there. Election quagmires, a pandemic running rampant, Halloween decorations still hanging around, or are those real cobwebs? Yet mailboxes remain a constant, stoic and calm, if a human condition could be attributed to an inanimate object. Mailboxes excel at their one duty: opening their mouths a couple of times a day to receive and give mail.

When this assignment landed on my desk I scoffed. Mailboxes again? Further research revealed that I last wrote about them in June of 2019 but it felt sooner. The timing couldn’t be better. People need distractions from the sheer terror that strikes these days when we leave the house to do anything else but look at or in mailboxes. These parcel containers are cheerful in their banality. Flare lifts them into the stratosphere without them having to leave their posts. In some cases it’s the posts themselves that get the artistic treatment. Either way decorated mailboxes are as compelling as they are ridiculous but in these serious times, they offer joy by breaking the monotony.

Stones on top of stones on top of more stones, these are the buliding blocks of a grand mailbox post. The Arnold Creek neighborhood has a reputation for fancy mailbox posts. This one is dark, handsome, rough and ready enough to support what appears to be a plastic mailbox. Ah, stone and plastic, how is that a match? I’ll have to imagine the mailbox is a newfangled synthetic resin that pairs with stone.

While a wheel might be connected to a foot as the Minutemen pointed out in one of their old songs, they can also be part of a mailbox post as seen in Far Southwest, that’s what my phone is calling it. Our research department is looking into whether this is an actual neighborhood. The wheel does add a decorative element reminiscent of western wagon wheels. I’m not knocking it. I’m starved for interesting mailboxes and posts to look at. It’s what I live for.

In Hillsdale, housing was provided for this mailbox. It’s a nice home. Sure someone needs to scrape the moss off the roof, like every other roof in this town. This should inspire anyone who lives in a house to realize that mailboxes deserve proper housing too.

In time, a mailbox covering, like the one seen in Far Southwest, will fade, chip and peel but it continues to add character lacking in standard mailbox designs. The birds haven’t flown away, while the branches and pine needle boughs blend in with the surrounding overgrowth.

You say, “Come on it’s not art.”
You say, “It’s just a soft focus, hot mess of a photo in harsh lighting conditions.”
You say, “Why another bannered mailbox?”
I stopped listening after the first question. Why? Because I could care less. I’m left to ponder the image of a flag wrapped around a bucket of flowers topped with a cheerful bird. Sure it’s Hallmark Shop tacky—the best kind! You have to admit it’s not another bland mailbox.

The chain post is macho, rusty and rugged. It winds itself through itself in a twisted and gnarled fashion. It anchors and supports this Arnold Creek mailbox and seldom used newspaper holder and it looks good doing it. Buy that mailbox some after shave from the Avon catalog this Christmas.

Art posts will slant and flirt with falling over to keep things entertaining. And yes, some people find entertainment value in slumping mailboxes held up by a dirt pile. Things can’t get lower. I stopped the one afternoon to document this postal plunge spotted in that mythical land of Far Southwest. I was glad to see someone, not a postal employee mind you, fixing this post the next afternoon.

In West Portland Park, I noticed this mailboxes forming a nice pattern of colors. It’s what I need these days—nice things. There’s a pattern. It’s a soothing pattern to these eyes, a Caribbean dream of peaceful colors that reach out and caress my vision. It has to be a pleasant experience picking up mail from one of these boxes.

This wooden sculpture makes an amazing mailbox post. We don’t throw that A word around often. We do use the other A word. What’s this post doing? The wood swirls around creating wooden teardrops which give me teardrops. I find myself crying out for people to offer up their mailboxes as art for the world to appreciate.

What’s not to love about a mid century modern piece of art disguised as a mailbox. Heck if I know, but this would be my idea of a sleek design and I can’t think of any other descriptor, even with the possibility that my knowledge of architecture could be way off.

Squiggles and swirls, it’s a phrase I never tire of writing. I tend to include it in all my blog posts. This mailbox has ebbed into a chameleon state, resembling its surroundings beyond the obvious burst of colors. It’s a nice splash of hues organized in a vibrant way–the kind of thing that might keep a mail person coming back day after day.

* * * * *

In case you were wondering, this post combines element of the art mailbox with designs that feature unique posts. Those used to be two separate categories until I found myself fleeing from and trying to avoid getting a deadly virus.

Note to Mrs. Yuckmow: Yes, I did it again, I think, up there, somewhere, I began a sentence with the word “And.” I feel the need to explain myself since I’m breaking one of your cardinal rules about not using the word “And” to begin a sentence. Let’s just say when I do it, it makes my writing sizzle.

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