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A few days ago I went into the basement (scary basements, a whole topic unto themselves) to put away an old file and came across an article I wrote while deeply involved in my X’s 1992 race for U.S. Congress against Peter King, who has been in office ever since. It will come as no surprise that I multi-minutiae-worried my way through the campaign.
My husband, Steve, sets up headquarters to launch his Congressional campaign. I worry about everything from strategy to stamps. When I notice mailings going out with the standard American-flag postage, I am chagrined.
“I-I think they look patriotic,” stammers Lawrence, one of the few employees.
“Patriotic doesn’t have to be unimaginative,” I say and continue in what I now recognize to be an annoying campaign-spouse tone. “I want you to go to the post office and get samples of all their commemorative issues.”
First I eliminate the “Comedians” series. Although when Steve and I were dating, he had told me his dream was to be a stand-up comic, I don’t want his supporters to think he’s going into politics to fulfill the fantasy.
And not the “Voyages of Columbus” series. Might be perceived as anti-Native American.
I’m willing to compromise on self-adhesive stamps, considering the convenience. But after trying a sheet, I realize the waste created by their backings could cost us the Sierra Club’s support. Better to make a safer choice and lick.
I ponder the Elvis postage, but then realize even Elvis won’t do–subliminally unsuitable since Steve’s opponent is named King.
The Olympics series is a standout, with strong colors and athletes engaged in wholesome activity. Perfect. Until we run out and so does the post office. The remaining selection is disappointing.
Then one morning Lawrence phones. “I found the greatest stamps,” he says. “You’ll love them.” Steve brings the new baseball stamps home. Gorgeous.
Uh-oh, though. “What’s happening here?” I ask. The player pictured is on the ground, apparently sliding into home plate. “Is he safe? Or out? Because if he’s out, you don’t want to be associated with this guy who’s down and out. Better go with something less risky. Like the D.C. Bicentennial.”
Months later, I learn that politically perfect stamps don’t win elections. On the other hand, maybe D.C. was the wrong message. Too many politicians using tax dollars to send junk mail. . . .
By the way, Happy Chrismahanukwanzamas!
In case anyone actually reads this (while hanging out with/ignoring your family), I’d love to hear your New Year’s resolutions.