Don’t Pee on Every Mailbox

In 2019, the National Center for Youth Issues published my children’s storybook, Seraphina Does Everything. In 2020, volume two of the book could have been titled, Seraphina Does Virtual School. In 2021, I would have written Seraphina Does Generalized Anxiety Disorder.


In 2022, I imagine the book might be called, Seraphina Really Wants Things to Go Back to Normal Again. But, spoiler alert, even if the world magically reverted to normal, Seraphina is a different person.


There is a generation of Americans known as “Depression Babies.” My grandfather kept the same dollar in his wallet for the rest of his life so that he could buy a po’ boy sandwich if he got hungry. Ms. Ida, my step great-grandmother (or something like that) saved boxes and boxes of hair. I found them in her cellar after she died. Those who lived during the 10-year period following the stock market crash of 1929 were permanently changed.

We are “Pandemic People.” I believe that those of us living through during this time will be different for the rest of our lives. Some of these changes may be for the better, some changes may be less…better. Only time will tell.


We need a moniker to overly simplify the collective trauma we have experienced. So, Pandemic People is as good as anything.


One thing that I have learned as a Pandemic Person is that I cannot and should not attempt to “do it all.” I have learned to be proud of myself for simple and focused accomplishments. I have learned to blog when I want to, rest when my body wants it, and devote my time to things I love.


My teenage son told the nurse giving him his COVID booster shot, “Life is short.” Of course, this was his response when asked whether he wanted the sparkly band aid or the plain one. Apparently, life is too short for plain band aids.


My friend Idell has learned something similar. On January 1st of this year, she found an insightful way to convey her Pandemic Person philosophy on Facebook…



Don’t pee on every mailbox. You’ll ruin a perfectly good walk.


Because, like this blog post, life is short.


Choose the sparkly band aid.


Choose one place to pee. Void your bladder. Then enjoy the day.


After all, we are Pandemic People…


PP for short.

My name is Dobby. I don’t pee on mailboxes.

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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.




  1. Linda Samuels

    Melissa- You made me smile and laugh out loud. What a great mantra- “Don’t pee on every mailbox.” The Facebook post and photo are great too! Seriously, from one Pandemic Person (People) to another, we are changed. These last years have taken it out of us, so understanding about our energy, building our reserves, and recognizing where we want to ‘spend’ this short life has become even more top of mind.

    As always, I love your perspective on life and your wonderful way of expressing yourself. Thank you for the laugh and also reinforcing our collective experience.

  2. Julie Bestry

    That wasn’t even the long way around to get to the punch line! The connection from Pandemic People to Life is Short to Don’t Pee on Every Mailbox to PP was logical and perfect and I’m going to be laughing for a long time.

    Early — wackily early — in the pandemic, I told myself that yeah, this wasn’t going to be the snow day that got the whole closet cleaned out but more like the summer of the bad breakup when I would give myself credit for getting dressed each day. No big accomplishments but lots of little ones. We are changed, but I suspect those who are (or will be) the most changed are the ones who didn’t have a lot of experience with developing resilience and coping mechanisms. These PP were peeing (I mean, learning) on the job, and this will be a defining period in their lives. Meanwhile, my BFF, who has led a life a lot like Job, seems to be picking her mailboxes and soldiering on. (Her mantra? Just keep swimming.)

    Finally, your post now has me humming the old TLC song with new lyrics. “Don’t go chasing mailboxes, please stick to the side of the street that you’re used to. I know that you wanna pull that mask off & run, but I think you’re moving too fast.”

  3. Hazel Thornton

    Ha! I love the idea of being selective about where to leave one’s mark. I also envision a companion doggie-themed piece in which one does not need to sniff every little thing to get the neighborhood news because so much of it is repetitive! Martha Beck once wrote an article called, “The Information Superflood: Stay Afloat In A Sea of Texts, Tweets, and E-Mails.” But I always think of it as, “Don’t Swallow the River,” because that’s the part I like best and still remember. The idea is that, in lieu of swallowing the information river and drowning, one paddles a kayak around, picking up bits and pieces that will come in handy right now. I couple this in my mind with the image of standing on a bridge watching sticks and leaves flow toward you. As they pass under the bridge, you run to the other side to watch them flow down river and disappear. If bridge-you trusts kayak-you to pick up a few important pieces as they pass by, then bridge-you can relax, and enjoy the view, knowing that the rest of the info was either not needed, or will come back around another day, or can be Googled. Water under the bridge.

  4. Ed Nanney

    Excellent article, Melissa. Thank you.

    Your advice (and King’s) are especially appropriate in these Pandemic Days. (I’ve had family slip up and refer to the Pandamnit.)

    COVID or not, I have been advised “Do 6 things a thousand times, not a thousand things 6 times.” We can only spin so many plates at once.


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