Hello, Citizen! It’s us, your friends at the United States Postal Service. You might have read the news about how our mail-sorting machines have been dismantled and how our boss replaced our mailbags with a “Flintstones”-style prehistoric pelican that carries your letters in its mouth pouch and says, “Eh, it’s a living,” every time we put a letter into its bill. And, don’t worry, they’re all true.
We just want to officially state that “voting by mail is easy!” is what we would have said every election up till now. This special year, we’ve designed a handy guide to help you participate in democracy via mail.
Step 1: Fill in your absentee-ballot application. You can access this on the Internet. If you don’t have the Internet, congratulations! It was a huge mistake and we all regret it.
Step 2: Send in your absentee ballot application. Previously, you would have done this through the mail, but our boss ordered us to fill all the mailboxes in your neighborhood with Flintstones Vitamins. So go to UPS and tell them that you want to send your application to your voting authority. That’ll cost fifty-six dollars, and it won’t get there till next Wednesday. Decide against it. There really should be some sort of affordable, public alternative for delivering parcels.
Step 3: Call your mom at home to see whether she can pick up your ballot.
Step 4: Chat with your mom. Now she’s talking about Barb? Indulge her. Say things like “No. Yeah. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. No, right, that’s totally uncalled for. Uh-huh. Yeah. Who does Barb think she is? No, you’re right. Barb’s the best.”
Step 6: Mom says that she can FedEx your ballot, but it’s seventy-two dollars and it won’t get there till next Friday. Ask Mom to pay for it. Listen to Mom talk about Barb’s son, Freddie. She says that he’s single. And that he’s got his own company. He started it with his friends. They’re doing very well for themselves. It’s something to do with consulting or something like that. Tell your mom you’re an artist and that’s why you left and don’t want to be stuck in your home town, dating a consultant. Mom says that Barb’s son travels for work a lot.
Step 7: Wait for the FedEx envelope to arrive.
Step 8: Wonder whether you’re supposed to tip the FedEx driver. Decide that you should, because of the pandemic.
Step 9: Leave for two seconds to go to the ATM.
Step 10: Miss the delivery.
Step 11: Travel thirty blocks to the nearest FedEx office to retrieve your ballot.
Step 12: Fill out your ballot.
Step 13: Consider mailing it back, but bear in mind that our boss decided to replace half our workforce with robots wearing French-maid outfits. That conference really awoke some kind of Hanna-Barbera thing in him.
Step 14: Consider flying to your home town to hand-deliver the ballot. Look up how much it would cost. O.K., absolutely not. How can they be charging so much in the middle of a pandemic?
Step 15: Decide to mail yourself home. We can’t lose your package if you are the package.
Step 16: Go to your local post office. Instead of a big box, you’ll have to mail yourself in an oversized “pic-a-nic” basket. Our boss asks us to pronounce it like that. Purchase a cartoonishly large picnic basket with a bow on it.
Step 17: Don’t forget to buy stamps! They all have Snagglepuss on them. Remember Snagglepuss? Yeah, the pink lion. Tiger? Liger? He’s on all the stamps now.
Step 18: Get in the enormous picnic basket and wait to be mailed. Don’t worry, the basket is full of liverwurst and some kind of biscuits that fill you with energy.
Step 19: You’ve been loaded onto a strange vehicle, maneuvered by a dastardly man and his laughing dog. You travel for weeks in what seems like a series of wacky races across the nation.
Step 20: After many days, the basket is finally opened. You have arrived. But this doesn’t look like your mom’s house. It looks like a disused fairground. That’s because it is. Our boss made us relocate post offices to abandoned fairgrounds and old manors on the edges of towns. Then, he asked us to dress up like spooky mummies to scare off anyone who wanted their mail. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for Freddie and his friends and their dog that smelled the liverwurst! They’ve rescued you. He goes by Frederick now. He’s kind of cute, even though he wears an ascot.