If I can be honest, it's time to talk about what's wrong with some of you people, and what's wrong with me. But first we need to discuss the new post office vehicles.
They're called Oshkosh New Generation Delivery Vehicles, or NGDVs (pronounced "Nuh-Gud-Vees." Not really, but we should start a campaign). They look ... odd. Low front like a duck's bill, huge windows that look as if they should have eyeballs, like a character from Pixar's "Cars."
As you might expect, the revelation of the new design brought out some opinionated types. The Twitter verdicts went like this:
"LOL like I get any mail anyway. waste of money."
"Why isn't it electric? Amazon is buying electric trucks. Thanks Post Office for killing the planet and the future."
"Why do we care about this when we should be talking about (insert author's pet cause, which he attacks imagining himself a noble warrior on a steed but actually looking like someone having a tantrum on one of those coin-op horses they had outside the Ben Franklin)?"
Of course, someone had to pipe up right away with the technical details because there are people in this world who make it a point to know everything about postal delivery vehicles. In the days before the internet they had no outlet. They had to wait for the subject to come up, which it never did.
Oh, they dreamed of a day when a neighbor, clipping the hedges, waved and said, "Say, Stan, did you see that postal van that drove by yesterday? Looked a lot like the rest of them but there was some small incremental detail that seemed to set it apart."
"Why yes, Harv, that's the new GM 3954-C. It's basically your 3954-B, except they modified the grillwork a bit. Might look like a minor cosmetic change to the untrained eye, but it's actually intended to keep it from popping out in the event of a collision over 10 miles per hour, which was a problem they had with the -B and the -A, to be honest."
"Thanks! You sure know your postal trucks."
"Aw, it's just a hobby."
"A strange and seemingly meaningless one, at that. At least from where I stand. Well, see you around."
Someone tweeted out the details for the old trucks: They were made by Grumman, and they're called the LLV, or Long-Lived Vehicles. Really. They were supposed to last 24 years. They've lasted a lot longer. Wouldn't we all like an LLV? You always hear about some fancy tech having its origins in the space program; well, I'd like to be able to slap the hood of my LLV and say, "Yep, it's got those high-tech post office specs built right in."
"I know," my neighbor would say. "That's your Grumman LLV-1991 A6-100 with the reconfigured dome lights and nickel-plated cigarette lighter socket."
"What? I thought you were fictional. You're not my neighbor. What did you do with Stan?"
Anyway. I wasn't interested in the specs of the old vehicles. What caught my eye in the Twitter thread was a remark about the pressing need for new trucks because the old ones were bursting into flames.
Someone else in another thread about the trucks noted that "It was about time! The old ones are blowing up."
I start googling: In the last few years, according to Vice and other sources, over 400 trucks have experienced spontaneous automotive combustion.
In the olden times, this would have been disastrous. You know what the average Postal Service truck had: letters from Mom, crucial bills, a catalog, that thing you ordered from a comic book four to six weeks ago, a postcard from a friend. It was exciting when the mail arrived.
You know what I get now? A piece of mail from a company that offers cremations. And I thought that first AARP letter was dismaying.
So, what's wrong with some of you, and with me? This: the need to have an opinion about everything, and proclaim it. Social media makes people believe the world has to hear what they think about USPS trucks. I'm even worse, as this column proves. So let me traduce the columnist's code and say: I don't really care.
Bring on the new trucks! In a few years we'll be used to them, and all the movies that had the old trucks will look dated and sweetly glazed with nostalgia. "Aww, look at that: the Grumman LLV, back when things were good."
It actually feels quite liberating to realize that I don't have to have an opinion about everything, and neither do you.
Agree? Disagree? E-mail link is below.
(P.S. I think the truck looks ridiculous.)
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