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A postcard is special.

Opening a mailbox and finding a brightly colored photograph with a message from a friend or loved one on the back is an experience that cannot be duplicated because it is such a human thing to do. For the tiniest moment, you are connected to another person via their thoughts and by holding the very same object they held.

It’s a romantic notion, sure, but it’s one that I cherish.

When I get a postcard, I find it very hard to throw it away. I keep the ones that are from places far off and relatively unknown to me personally. Unless the message is especially touching, then I pocket it so I can look at it again when I discover it in my closet or something.

And that’s the magic of this very small and extremely effective messaging device: The chance to rediscover it later on in life and snap back to the moment you got it. Physical messaging systems (letters, postcards, notes) have the unique ability to make us time travel. When we hold on to a postcard from days gone by, we are instantly the age we got it and are in the exact place we read it for the first time.

What makes postcards magical, and sets them apart from letters or notes, is that they cannot be replaced. Sure, an email can cover a letter and have a similar emotional value to it (I still read over the emails my wife and I sent to each other in college with the same excitement as when I got them), but there isn’t an electronic version of a postcard. Twitter might be close, as tweets are written in the moment, much like a postcard, but Twitter buries these messages overtime and usually they are easily forgotten.

You will never look at a tweet with the same amount of nostalgia as a postcard. A tweet has a time stamp, and is written by a person (unless it was written by a bot), but it won’t have the same soul as something that you can touch.

The physical world is one that is used. Everywhere you go, someone else has been there before you. Postcards allow you to be, however brief, connected with that person from the past as you hold it in your hand.

 

Written by Maz

Nick enjoys making things and drinking coffee, specifically the latter, for without it the former wouldn’t get done. He also wrote a book titled "Where Monsters Lie & Other Tales"