Archive for November, 2011
Naïve me didn’t realize the power a comedy club owner wields until the day I walked into the post office in Hawaii Kai.
Charlotte and I had just moved from Hawaii Kai to Kaneohe and were having a little trouble with our mail forwarding. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I wrote a note to the postmaster, stuck it in a Honolulu Comedy Club business envelope, and wrote the word “Postmaster” on it. My plan was the next time I drove by the post office in Hawaii Kai I would drop it off. Simple enough.
So I thought.
Standing in line. My turn. I walked up to the counter and handed the girl the envelope. “Please give this to the postmaster.” And the girl said…
“I can’t do that without a stamp.”
“I’m sorry?” I responded, “Not sure I follow.”
She said, “I can’t give this to him without a stamp.”
Stunned, I replied, “I’m not mailing it. I’m dropping it off. I did the driving.”
“There’s nothing I can do,” she persisted.
After pondering my options for a moment, I slowed my voice down and said, “I would like to see the postmaster. Can you please get him for me?”
She disappeared. When she returned, I’ll be a horned toad, she took my letter – without the stamp.
The following day I got a call from the postmaster letting me know he had resolved the mail forwarding problem. Very nice man, obviously enjoyed his job, enjoyed helping people. Before hanging up… should I, shouldn’t I… Eh, what the heck. Before hanging up I decided to tell him the story.
“By the way, did your girl at the counter tell you what I had to go through to get my note into your hands?”
She hadn’t. So I took the liberty of laying out the sequence of events. When I finished my story I could sense a range of emotions flying through the phone. The good postmaster’s response was a combination of shock, embarrassment, humor, and fear. It was the fear that took me by surprise.
Shock in that his girl wasn’t following policy, but rather trying to establish a new postal policy on the fly. Embarrassment by the sheer stupidity of it. Humor in that he had already been considering writing a book about all of the insane things he had seen in his postal career and this one was near the top of the list. But fear?
The kindly postmaster knew I owned the comedy club in Waikiki due to my letterhead, and he assumed I had ultimate power over the stage and microphone, as well as connections with media. He knew what comedians could do with stories like these. And he feared.
I, on the other hand, had no clue I had any of these powers. But I guess… maybe…
We had a good laugh. I’m pretty certain he’s retired by now so it’s probably safe to tell the story. Clearly not his fault… but girl, if you’re reading this… we’re watching you.
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