The U.S. Postal Service, though dependable, is sometimes thought of as dull. But in truth, it has been quite imaginative, especially when it comes to the trusty postage stamp.
Not only have the postal folks issued historic, clever, and beautiful stamps -- depicting everything from lighthouses to Hollywood legends -- they even allow customers to create their own stamps, within the bounds of reasonably good taste.
All this has not completely distracted consumers from noting the steady rise in the price of stamps. But the men and women in grayish-blue have an answer for that, too.
Pending congressional approval, they will begin issuing what they call "forever stamps." Buy a sheet at today's price, and the stamps will be good for first-class postage tomorrow, next year, or millennia from now.
Forever-stamp purchasers won't have to buy pesky little "makeup stamps." These are the ones -- worth a penny or two or three -- that you need to slap on next to the usual stamp every time there's a price rise, to cover the difference between the old and new rates.
"Forever stamps" seem certain to be big sellers, since they're inflation-proof. Of course, as a recent Chicago Tribune newspaper editorial pointed out, when first-class postage goes up again, we'll need to remember where we PUT those forever stamps.
Just how they'll work, and how many sheets we'll be allowed to buy and hoard, remain to be seen. But think about this: If the glue on a postage stamp tastes vile now, how will it taste after sitting in a drawer for . . . well . . . forever?