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Why do they hate my letter box?

January 2nd, 2012
By Ian Miller

My letter box is one of natures natural victims. It is always getting picked on.

It's a benign little thing, this letter box of mine. Inoffensive, minds its own business and never does anything it ought not to. It just stands beside my gateway waiting to receive my bills and junk mail, not attracting attention to itself in any way. Yet it gets hammered. Regularly.

When I first moved in a few years ago I inherited an ugly nondescript letter box which, in a misguided fit of pride, I replaced with a very stylish wooden edifice that looked rather like a traditional Scandinavian cedar clad bach. I stained it a tasteful brown, fitted some classy numbers and sat back to admire it and tot up the cost.

Well that certainly upset someone for not long afterwards it was seriously damaged in a nocturnal mini rampage that injured several letter boxes along our street. I repaired my beauty and all was well for a few months.

Over the following months there were a couple more half hearted attacks on it and its pole was bent. This all only required minor surgery to remedy. Then the Postie (I think) hit it with a bike causing minor damage but that was OK. I was getting used it by now. Then one fateful night my defenseless letter box received an almost fatal king hit that required a very serious reconstruction effort on my part. I took the bits into my workshop and rebuilt it.

Once more I re-erected it and decided maybe it was time I added letter box repair costs to the family budget. A wise decision as it turned out because about a year later some wandering youff administered it a fatal blow. In the morning I went out and retrieved the scattered kindling that my dear letter box had been reduced to.

Off to Mitre 10 I went and purchased the plainest most inoffensive looking letter box I could find. That didn't do much to improve the temper of our night roamers because it to soon received a blow. At least being metal I was able to straighten it out. I replaced the damage numbers and all was well for quite a while.

Now I live in what could, I guess, be described as a respectable area of Motueka. That means most of the youths that trail past our gateway at night seem to be tidily dressed but the young men around here seem to be prone to sudden surges of testosterone. This apparently manifests itself in a spontaneous urge to belt my letter box.

Yes, my poor battered letter box has been beaten up twice more now and is on its last legs. No amount of panel beating will restore it to its pristine plainness and frankly, I just don't care any more. When it comes to letter boxes I am a beaten man.

Comment by William Cleaver:
[Posted 4 January 2012]

Ian's letter box has been smashed and bashed by testosterone youths too many times. I fear for these youths' lives of getting away with it must surely by now be running out. When caught hopefully by the police and not revenge seeking residents they may wish that they have never committed such a stupid act.

What goes through their minds, and are there bragging rights? Hey Dude, I smashed up a defenseless letter box. Does this youth cruise the streets smooching down the road with a I'm so tough look about themselves while a beaten letterbox lays in the gutter? Can I put this act on my curriculum vitae or will I still be able to leave the country with letterbox bashing as a criminal record?

Maybe the parents of these adolescents have something to do with their upbringing and should share the responsibility for criminal acts like this. Ask your children what they have been up to last night and why there is a bruise looking like a number on their fists.

Punishment for such a crime should be decided by the owner of the letter box. It has been suggest that youths get concreted into the ground with a number stuck on the forehead and left for a couple of nights or maybe sent to prison and put into a workshop that makes letterboxes and number plates. Install surveillance or electrify the letterbox as possible defense but I think the postie may say something about the later choice.

Anyhow Ian, get a post office box like I do and save yourself some money. Happy hunting.

Comment by Roger:
[Posted 8 January 2012]

Been in Motueka for 5 years now. Within 3 months of our arrival our metal letterbox had its head ripped off and thrown on the ground. After a little straightening, it was restored to its rightful place. I then made friends with the local passing youth and casually mentioned what had happened and added the information that I had attached one sided razor blades to the underneath edges of the letterbox. My letterbox has a new mark of respect - it hasn't been touched since.
PS. Must get around to it one of these days and fit those blades.

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