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Monday, March 26, 2007

Nothing is forever, except postage stamps

In case you missed it, the Post Office unveiled a new design for its "forever stamp" that will remain valid no matter what the current postal rates are. Here's the AP story:

Post office unveils 'forever' stamp
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- An image of the Liberty Bell, an icon of American freedom and independence, will adorn the Postal Service's new forever stamp. ...

The stamp, which will carry the word "Forever" instead of a price, will remain valid for sending a letter, no matter how much rates go up in the future.

Read the full article
Of course the "forever" part refers to the stamp's design, not the its cost. The concept, however, that the post office could create anything that would last "forever" is a bit silly. That presumes a lot, such as the US Post Office always being around. Hell, even the Roman Empire fell.

It brought to mind one of my favorite sonnets by Shakespeare (no. 50 -- see below), which boasts that his verse would outlive all other earthly things. My bet is, the poem will certainly surpass the "forever" stamp's lifespan.

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death, and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.
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