TLC’s “A Baby Story” makes my uterus hurt. The episodes all start out innocently enough, with sweet stories of growing families. But just when I’m too emotionally invested to change the channel, the horror show begins, and soon I find myself physically exhausted, helping a total stranger push from the comfort of my living room. I’m relieved the end is near- just one more big push - when I hear the familiar squeak of our rusty mailbox, and I’m pulled out of today’s labor. Of course, I’ll fall for it all over again tomorrow. But for now, unlike the new Mommy on the screen, I am full of life and energy, able to leap up from my spot on the sofa to see who might have sent me evidence that they’re thinking of me. It’s likely only Ed McMahon, but one never knows. This must be what the people of River City were feeling as they sang about the Well’s Fargo Wagon.
My daily mail ritual involves sorting each piece into one of three piles. The first is for the people who live in the upstairs apartment of our duplex. Their mail is easily identifiable by the fact that it is addressed in Chinese. Pile number two is made up of things that go directly into the trash, and it is often made up of multiple Pottery Barn catalogues. Finally, there is a pile for the things I will open and shred before putting them into the trash. This pile can be a lot of work. But my only other options are delivering my information into the hands of identity thieves, or wallpapering our apartment with opportunities to consolidate our student loans. So, shredding it is.