Monday 22 March 2010

Excessive Attention to Document Posting

It appears I am not alone in my neuroses which is very reassuring. Thanks for your many and varied examples of obsessive attention to detail which have come through in comments, email and even phone messages – clearly there is a need to share. Any more? Feel free to divulge here. Sympathy and support await all responses...

When I was writing my earlier post, I was comforted with the memory of my friend, Helen, also falling afoul of Excessive Attention to Document Posting. This time it involved her secondary school preference form for her eldest born.

After handing the envelope to the post master for placement in the grey, sorting bag, she quickly asked to have it back to check that she had included the form itself. She had. Excellent.

When she re-folded the seal however, she was concerned that it might not be quite as secure as the original fastening. But not wishing to bother the postmaster when there was a queue forming behind her, she smiled meekly and left.

Outside the post office she turned on her heel and re-entered, joining the back of the queue. Her long-suffering children, incidentally, stood quietly with her, a little perplexed. Eventually, she reached the counter again and explained her predicament to the post master who replied with a smile that it wouldn’t be the first time in his thirty year history that somebody had asked him to empty the sorting bag.

It was near collection time. The bag was full but no matter. The postmaster would have to look through himself, however, on his side of the counter, to respect other people’s privacy. Contents upended, he apologised to the new queue forming behind Helen while he rifled through the letters and parcels spilled on the floor to retrieve her package. It wasn’t a particularly easy job, with many of the other parents’ secondary school submission forms making up the bulk of the post bag, as they were in their identical pre-printed envelopes. Helen could only point helpfully through the glass.

She apologised a lot. The postmaster apologised a lot. People tutted. And coughed. Between them, my friend and the postmaster located her envelope. The seal, incidentally, was stuck like super-glue.

Could he, Helen wondered before finally leaving the counter, just to be triply sure, possibly place a piece of sellotape over the seal?


  1. Ben Elton used to call it "Captain Paranoia on your shoulder."

  2. Yep, he's not wrong there! Have you read any Ben Elton? Some I love, Blind Faith for example, but others I can hardly get past the first ten pages (and consequently can't remember the titles.) He's a real example of how a good story and fantastic observation can cover a multiple of sins in my humble opinion - telling not showing being a particular one that he gets away with. I do buy them all though so shouldn't really be complaining :-)

  3. Hi!
    Love reading what you write. Look forward to more in future.

  4. Hello you! Nice to see you here and glad you like it :-)


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