Letters: The Postal Service,Why We Gossip

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics including advising your child's career path, reasons why the U.S. Postal Service is still useful, and what happens when you gossip.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Tuesday and time to read from your comments. Last week, when we spoke with award-winning actor John Lithgow about his memoir, "Drama," and his early career, we asked listeners who worked in the arts if they'd want their children to follow in their footsteps. Wanda Holmgren from Faribault, Minnesota, wrote, my husband and I are both artists and educators, and I would not encourage our two daughters to enter the visual arts field as we have. We're strapped with huge student debts, and we're making small salaries. And Gil Potter from San Francisco emailed, it's not just the arts that parents steer kids away from. My father was a successful lawyer that became a judge, and his only commandment to my life was never to become a lawyer. So I took his advice and studied to become a lighting electrician.

Our conversation about whether the post office has outlived its usefulness prompted Rita Moore to write us from Portland. It's worth noting that here in Oregon, we vote only by mail, and with the panic around voting fraud, voting by mail is being considered in a number of other states. I'd rather not have to FedEx my ballot. And Julia Boyle added, my daughters are three and seven and use the postal service regularly. They're too young to have an email account, and their crucial correspondent is thank you notes. Writing or drawing their appreciation when they receive a gift or getting a thank you letter when they have given a gift is very important, and there is no option other than the post office for inexpensively sending letters. The post office has not outlived its usefulness.

Finally, when we talked to Joseph Epstein about his latest book, "Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit," many of you dished some dirt on your gossip experiences. Laura Newton from Tallahassee: Sometimes gossip informs our choices. Hearing people talk about how other women handle infidelity or the serious illness of a child gives me examples of possible choices for handling my own difficulties. And Holly Santiago in St. Cloud, Minnesota, emailed, whenever my grandmother and I gossip, she ends our discussion with, well, everyone is crazy except you and I, and sometimes I wonder about you, winking, of course. It reminds me that our gossip is a form of play. She also says, the less I gossip, the more trustworthy I appear, the more juicy gossip that I hear.

So if you want to share your gossip or have a correction, comment or question for us, you can email talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. If you're on Twitter, you can follow us there, @totn, or you can follow me, @nealconan - all one word.

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