By BRYAN GRAY
The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis County Clipper.
One of the happiest memories of my childhood was a monthly treat from the mailman. My father thoughtfully figured that a good way to help me enjoy reading was to have a book for young adolescents mailed to my home.
This child’s “book of the month” club worked. Even though I could buy books through my school or check books out of a library, it was a thrill for a young boy to actually receive a package addressed to him. I would greedily tear off the wrapper to see what book some anonymous childhood reading expert had chosen for me.
I doubt that children today receive letters or packages in the mail. In fact, adults receive far fewer personal letters and items with the advent of e-mail, and the U.S. Postal Service has suffered greatly.
As I quickly approach the age of Medicare, I am often reminded of how quickly times have changed. I received a shocking reminder last week while attending an event showcasing a “new commercial business model environment for entrepreneurs.”
The event was entitled “Start-Up Ogden,” though the “start-up” environment is being planned for numerous cities throughout the state. The concept is to offer a working space in a remodeled older building in which members can conduct business without offices or even cubicles.
For $50 a month, for instance, a young entrepreneurial type can ride his/her bike or skateboard into the building (yes, there will be a skateboard ramp), plug his computer into a socket and conduct business at any available desk of his choosing. A coffee and soda bar will be located near his desk as well as showers and lockers. The site will be open 24 hours a day with members using it as long as they wish, befitting their businesses and their lifestyle.
“Ideas can be triggered here without the confinement of the typical office,” said one of the spokesmen.
The young attendees around me were enthralled at the concept.
One had a question I thought was pertinent:
“Will there be mail service at this building?” he asked.
“Mail service?” answered the spokesman. “Why would you want mail? Is there anybody in this room who still receives personal mail in a traditional mailbox?”
Most giggled in response and shook their heads. One twenty-something male blurted out, “Gee, I haven’t had a mailbox or even mailed a letter for over three years. It’s so old school. It’s almost embarrassing to receive mail!”
In an instant, I was transformed into a dinosaur. I still receive checks by mail and pay bills by mail. I still write thank-you notes and birthday cards and mail them. I still buy stamps at the local post office. I still see my mailbox as a vital avenue of communication and dialogue.
Yes, I feel old. But I also feel fortunate for myself and sad for the young man who doesn’t engage through mail service. He and his children will never know the excitement of asking Mom, “Has the mail come yet? Is there anything for me?”
And they’ll never feel the joy of hearing mom reply, “There’s a package addressed to you on the kitchen table. I have no idea what’s in it.”
You don’t get that same excitement from a text message.