Forever is Becoming Better

The world is getting better ... forever.

Posted Dec 29, 2010

So what's the glory in living?
Doesn't anybody ever stay together anymore?
And if love never lasts forever,
Tell me what's forever for?
- Rafe VanHoy(1982)

I don't send as many letters as I once did, but still enough that I periodically need to buy stamps. In recent years, whenever I have bought stamps, I have faced a dilemma. Should I buy a booklet of the increasingly lovely first class stamps that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been issuing, running the risk that the price will be raised before the booklet is used, or should I buy the more mundane Liberty Bell "forever" stamps, knowing they can be used not only forever but also whenever?

The issue is not about saving a penny or two per letter, but rather that I do not want to go to the bother, when postage costs increase, of obtaining one cent stamps in order to make up the difference. The dilemma: Go for the lovely stamps, which I know to brighten my day, however briefly, or avoid the hassles, which I know to take a toll on my well-being, again however briefly. I usually avoid the hassles. Sigh.

In a move resulting from budget deficits, the USPS has recently announced a plan that will resolve my dilemma. Starting January 22, 2011, all new first class stamps - including I assume the lovely ones - will be forever stamps and thus hold their value.

Since 1987, some 28 billion forever stamps have been sold and now account for 85% of all first class stamps that are sold, suggesting that many people, like me, have opted against loveliness.

As much as I admire the Liberty Bell and for what it stands, I welcome this pending change, even if it is driven by financial considerations.

Who says the world is not getting better?

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