Avoiding jail for fun and profit.

Thanks for the well-wishes and knife-safety tips. I hope the saga of how I stabbed myself with a steak knife can be a learning experience for us all.

The exciting news is that my finger has now turned purple. It’s weird how the wound is on 1 side of my finger, but it’s the other side that’s now the color of eggplant. At first glance, I thought, “Wow – this is just like when we read Steinbeck’s ‘The Red Pony’ in 9th grade, and our teacher had to explain to us that the boy’s arm turning black meant that infection was spreading and he was going to die.”

And then I thought, “If I die from stabbing myself with a friggin’ steak knife, I am going to be so pissed. Like, I will find the Ginsu family and haunt them for all eternity. Also, if I’d known I was going to die, I wouldn’t have spent the last few weeks on Weight Watchers.”

But … so far, so good.

And maybe it wasn’t “The Red Pony,” but it was some depressing book wherein everything was dusty. I read it 25 years ago.


So, I stabbed myself, managed to cheat death, and then I almost got arrested. Yes, all in the same day.

See, I have these wonderful friends who live in Michigan. And Michigan is home to many amazing wineries. That make wine. That is delicious.

Also, you can’t carry on liquids when you fly. And I’m not going to pay $25 to check a bag because come on, and also, the wine bottles might break anyway.

So, when I visited Michigan and some of its wineries, my pals were all, “No problem! We’ll mail you any wine you want to buy!”

We’d been to enough tastings by this point that mailing wine to my “Don’t mail wine here or you’ll be in big trouble” state seemed like a good idea. My friend Jen was confident. “Don’t worry,” she said. “The lady in my mail room at work helps me mail wine all the time!”

Jen works at a church. I love my friends.

So, Jen mailed me 2 bottles of wine.

Time passed. One day, I got a knock on my door. It was my mail carrier, who isn’t the strongest master of the English language. What I got out of him was, “Package, problem, go to office, see manager, liquor.”


So, the day of my massive stab wound was the day I was headed to the post office to face the liquor-mailing music. I was nervous, and carefully planned my outfit to look responsible yet contrite. I practiced looking surprised to find that someone had attempted to mail me alcoholic beverages. “Why, I don’t even imbibe,” I’d say with a ladylike and somewhat Southern drawl.

Despite my planning, I still had visions of being immediately handcuffed and sent to Mail Jail. Hopefully, my fellow mailjailbirds would see my stab wound and know that I wasn’t one to be trifled with. Hopefully, I wouldn’t get my ass kicked for using terms like “trifled with.” Hopefully, Mail Jail would have cable teevee.

The line at the post office was long, and, of course, there was just 1 lady behind the counter. She had a long, chatty conversation with another lady in Chinese while the line grew. People shuffled their weight. We all tried, unsuccessfully, not to be annoyed.

Finally, it was my turn. I explained what my mail carrier had said. The mail lady left to search for my package. She came back empty-handed. “I can’t find your package,” she said, as if this were my problem to fix.

I explained the situation again. She went to the back again, and I felt the stares of my former line comrades drilling into the back of my skull.

Finally, the mail lady returned – and she was none too happy with me.

She held up an opened box that contained broken glass.

“Dis box has wine in it,” she said. I prepared myself to play dumb about the state laws prohibiting mailing alcohol, but never had the chance. She went on, “Dis box has wine, but was sent MEDIA MAIL! YOU TRY TO DEFRAUD FEDERAL GOVERNMENT! YOU STEAL MONEY FROM GOVERNMENT!”

This was not at all how I pictured this going. I did my best “I’m taking this very seriously” look and didn’t have to pretend to be shocked. I said, “I see. I’m sorry.”

The mail lady looked at me with disgust. “We let you go dis time. But next time? NEXT TIME YOU PAY!”

And with that, she shoved the box at me and called the next person to the counter.

One of the bottles of wine had shattered, but the second bottle was intact and ready to toast my successful avoidance of Mail Jail.

As I left the post office, I wasn’t sure if the folks in line were looking upon me with pride or disgust. I like to think that they were silently applauding as they all clutched packages containing items that were fragile, liquid, and perishable.

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  • Reply Cassi Renee June 9, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that you live in a State where people can't mail you wine? I'd have to move. My wine arrives a case at a time, from Naked Wines.

    Also? I grew up in MI, and at that time the wine wasn't so good. I'm glad to hear it has improved 🙂

  • Reply Becky June 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Cheers to avoiding the mail jail!

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin June 9, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Well, now I know the penalty for abusing media mail!
    I kind of wish they'd have trifled with you just a teeny bit–this whole ordeal made for a good story:)

  • Reply Banjo Unfabulousness June 9, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    If you would have been thrown in mailjail, I am sure they would have thrown your box in with you…… so at least you could have had some yummy wine while you waited to be bailed out.

  • Reply Unknown June 11, 2014 at 1:14 am

    1. I'm trying to think what book we read that involved such an infection.

    2. Was it "The Red Pony" where the boy's heading off in the car (or wagon?) with his family and he sees the horse in a ditch by the side of the road and is all, "Stop! Stop! It's [insert horse's name here]!" Because in that one, I totally didn't get that it was the horse carcass. I thought the horse was actually by the side of the road and didn't understand why the parents didn't stop.

    3. The ice pack was your BFF? And you defrauded the government? Yeah, we're done here.

  • Reply slow panic June 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm


    It's like the soup Nazi has taken over the post office.

  • Reply Eliseo Weinstein April 5, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Thank you for sharing this with my wife and I, it is crazy to think that you live in a state where they mail you wine, my wife and I are real wine enthusiasts and recently travelled to Italy to get a full wine experience, it was such a great journey and I can recommend it to everyone. Thank you.

    Eliseo Weinstein @ Jr's Bail Bond

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