Politics & Media
Jun 07, 2024, 06:24AM

I Can’t Let Go of My UPS Box

Love and money.

Ups box downtown raleigh upstudio large.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

I still have my UPS mailbox. It’s a medium-sized box in the heart of Georgetown. It costs me $250 every three months. 

I’ve become attached to the box, number #175. It has emotional meaning for me. The box started over 10 years ago when I was teaching journalism in the summer at Georgetown University. I lived in a small room near the university, rode a bike everywhere, and rented the box. It’d just be for the summer. I got my mail there and packages from publishers and record companies who wanted reviews.

Still, after teaching for three summers and then moving in, I kept the box. And kept it. Years went by. Georgetown was a dynamic and fun hangout for my friends and in the 1980s, and riding down N Street to Wisconsin Avenue was a way to think back on those good times. It was therapeutic.

The mailbox saved my life in 2018. I was swept up in a political hit when a high school friend of mine was nominated to the Supreme Court. Extortionists, psychotics, the media and Congress called for my head. The Washington Post slimed me, even if they couldn’t find me. My only known address, wrote Marc Fisher, was “a UPS box in Georgetown.” Fisher also noted that I was “a rebel” who was “outspoken, profane, sometimes boorish, but also surpassingly loyal to his friends.” Up your ass, Marc.

During the height of the fall 2018 insanity I drove by to pick up my mail. Out front was a reporter with a camera. She was casually pacing up and down the sidewalk, waiting. Waiting for me. I slowly parked in front of the store and just watched her. I was her prey, and just feet away. I silently drove away. It was several weeks before I picked up my mail. There was a stack of it, and I didn’t know what I would find—death threats? I was relieved to see it was mostly normal stuff. It lifted my soul to see several issues of The New Criterion and DownBeat. There was also a marriage proposal. Civilization might survive after all.

I should add that the people who work at this UPS store are incredibly cool. They’re friendly and professional and politely let me know if I’m a little behind on the mailbox rent. In 2018 politicians, the media and oppo researchers had used my high school yearbook against me. When the show trial was finally over and the pandemic hit, I said to the UPS store manager, who I nicknamed “Saint Dominic” due to his kind demeanor, “At least no one gives a fuck about my yearbook anymore.” He looked at me for a blank second, then dissolved into laughter. He was still cackling when I left the store.

The battle in 2018 blew my life apart, and I started a GoFundMe to pay lawyers and survive. I then went to Kiawah Island in South Carolina, where a high school friend of mine has a small condo. My GoFundMe was posted on a few platforms and people were donating. However, I heard from many of them that they don’t like GoFundMe because it’s too “woke.” Is there any way to mail a check?

Of course. Box 175. Georgetown.

I returned from Kiawah weeks later on a gloomy, rainy early-spring day. I took a cab from Reagan National to Georgetown. I nervously slipped the key in the lock and popped the gate open. A stack of checks. People understand that I’m not a political grifter. I’d lost a lot of writing gigs and the left had tried to kill me. My mental health suffered. No conservative groups were stepping up to help. It was me and the mailbox.

It still is. 


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