Randall Wood

God bless the U.S. Postal Service

If you’re old enough to remember a TV show named Cheers you may remember Cliff Clavin, the lovable, trivia-challenged postman who held the bar down with his best friend Norm. Norm had the above passage tattooed on his ass after a drunken night on the town with Cliff. To his credit, Cliff had “I love Vera” on his ass, a tribute to Norm’s wife. Evidently there was some confusion at the tattoo parlor.

As a result, I always call my mailman Cliff. To her credit, she always laughs.

Today I went to the post office to obtain a PO Box for my fledgling publishing company. From this point forward the box would be referred to, on various forms and publications, as my business address. Fortunately, there were several of Cliff’s buddies there to aid me in this process.

Of all the items on the list so far this has proven to be the easiest. It involved a two-page form, some identification, and a credit card.

The form is straight-forward; name of your publishing company, billing address, phone number, e-mail address, etc. until you come to the identification area. If you’re not prepared here it could mean a return trip.

You need two specific forms of ID.

Form number one can be any of the following;

-valid Drivers License.

-Armed forces, government, university, or recognized corporate ID.

-Passport, Passport card, Alien Registration card, or Cert. of Naturalization.

In other words, they want something with a picture of YOU on it.

The second form can be one of the following;

-Current Lease, Mortgage or Deed of Trust.

-Voter or Vehicle Registration card.

-Home or Vehicle Insurance policy.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t carry my mortgage papers around with me. So if you just brought your wallet with you, and you drove the wife’s car that day, you’re screwed. The guy next to me did just that, so he left for a minute, jotted down the decal number off his wife’s license plate, and got back in line. He made it through the second time. Cliff didn’t seem to care.

I put the wife’s name on the back of the form so she could access the box if I was out on tour signing books or something. She’ll need all of the ID listed above as well, plus some blood, her shoe size, and a hair sample I think. I also checked the auto-renew box because this is the kind of thing I always forget. Like Forest said; one less worry.

Then it was time to choose a box size. You can get one as small as 3×5 or one big enough to put your head in. Since the chance of that much snail mail coming to my new company was slim, I chose the smallest box.

$52 a year for a 3×5 box.

That’s pretty expensive real estate. I asked if he had anything smaller.


So I bit the bullet, swiped my plastic, and saved the receipt for the tax man.

$52 dollars a year is a lot of beer money. But at least www.TensionBookworks.com  now has a mailing address. I put the keys on my ring before I left. Lucky for me, and purely by accident (I swear!), there was a bar next door.

I can see myself checking the box regularly.

God bless Cliff, and Vera too.

Domain Name registration   $20

Monthly fee x 3 months    $12

Website back-up plan    $13

36 months of hosting    $187

Registration with the State   $119

P.O. Box     $52

Total      $403

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