I’d like to talk about my Batman stamps. Literally. Stamps, featuring Batman, that I got at the post office weeks (i.e., months) ago. Let’s return to that fateful day. It was cold, chilly even. I remember it like it was being made up right now. Misshapen snowflakes melted on my fleece zip-up while I waited in the molasses-moving line. Could I have just walked up to the lonely, electronic kiosk and purchased a book of stamps (i.e., a set of 20 stamps) in a fraction of the time? Sure, but where’s the human-touch in that? Like all babies, I crave intimacy. I wanted to stand before the postal worker, request a book of stamps and make her day because I was asking for something simple that she could produce without even lifting a butt cheek. No need to search the back for a package or have to explain the process for procuring a passport. Just the stamps, ma’am (or mister).
When it was my turn, I approached the counter apprehensively. This was a big deal.
“A book of stamps, please.”
The attendant reached down into a folder/drawer/something and pulled out a flat sheet, and pushed it towards me. It was Batman, all Batman.
I was expecting flowers or flags.
“Cool, Batman,” I said.
The attendant cackled like the Joker, pulled out a machine gun umbrella and ignored my comment.
I paid the price, took my stamps and went off.
In the privacy of my car, I perused the stamps. The post office went all out. There were four different Batmen; Batman throughout history. The Golden Age, the Silver Age, the Modern Age, The Post-Modern (?) Age. Four of each. And four bat emblems in four different incarnations. For a total of 20. All laid out on a specially branded Batman background with a story of Batman’s creation on the back. Real collector’s stuff.
When I peeled my first Batman off the sheet and affixed it to a boring envelope, my inner child shuddered. Sacrilege. But it had to be done. The stamps had a job to do, and my sentimentality had withered with age. What else was I supposed to do? Save them, lock them in a safe and hope they’d grow in value over time? Not my style.
I’m down to nine stamps now. Five Batmen and all four emblems. One day in the future, even in today’s age of emails and text messages and dick pics, I’ll use my final stamp. And I’ll walk over to the trash can, discard the empty sheet and say, KA-POW!