Sooner or later, big fish will be on hook

I love salmon, but not the “real” kind.
I grew up with parents who had lived through the Great Depression; fresh fish was only for holidays. Salmon came in a can. I must say, it was quality: only Bumble Bee brand. But that was cheap food in those olden days.
Family members sometimes seize on old memories as we/they age. Only one of my mother’s many siblings is left, but he remembers my love of canned salmon.
When I visit Pittsburgh, he stocks up in advance for my enjoyment. Always red Bumble Bee, of course, not cheap pink. I don’t think I knew pink salmon existed before I moved away.
When my son was a bar mitzvah in Chicago, I looked at the shul caterer’s list for the post-service buffet lunch and asked her to please add salmon salad. I didn’t know I had to specify red! When this big bowl of pink stuff appeared on the table, none of my family would touch it. Including me.
From time to time, when I haven’t been “back home” for a while, Uncle Irv will send me some Bumble Bee red by priority mail, as a special gift. He always lets me know in advance, so I can be looking out for package delivery. After a recent call, when he said six one-pound cans were on the way, my mouth started to water.
But when his package arrived (left by my front door since I wasn’t home when the carrier made his delivery), I knew right away that something was wrong. First, the box had obviously been opened and clumsily re-sealed. Second, it didn’t weigh nearly 6 pounds. So I opened it, and found a great deal of crumpled newspaper, two pairs of very cheap women’s bedroom slippers, and one can of salmon.
The people at my local post office weren’t very cooperative when I brought back this mutilation to file a complaint about tampering. No, the package hadn’t been insured, but it was obvious that the contents had been vetted for priority mailing. Yes, I know that paper is heavy, but not so much when it’s just a few sheets balled up for filler. I had to get evidence from the post office where it was mailed, they said. So I did. That post office told my uncle he had to get evidence from the post office where it had arrived, which he did. What was obvious, but what nobody at either station wanted to own up to, was that this package had always and only been in postal workers’ hands from mailing to delivery, so someone in the system had to have been responsible.
So I enlisted the help of my congressman’s local office, which quickly expedited a refund of the cost of five one-pound cans of red salmon plus priority mail postage. This achievement immensely upped my enthusiasm for the work of our elected public officials. But United States Postal Service workers are not elected …
But justice prevails!  Pittsburgh’s chief postal inspector has been jailed, on grounds of making more than a bit too much of his inspections. His crime was opening boxes that intrigued him, all of them priority mail packages in one particular post office, the one at which my uncle had mailed my salmon.
Over a long period of time, this crook had been taking whatever he pleased for himself and threatening the workers there that they’d be fired if they ratted on him.
Well, despite chancing the possible loss of livelihood, somebody finally bit the bravery bullet and told, proving that not even a high honcho in the USPS can get away with criminal activity forever.
Of course, I wish he’d choked to death on that pilfered Bumble Bee. But since he didn’t, I hope his jailhouse menu features lots of cheap pink salmon! (I recycled the newspaper and gave the slippers to Goodwill. Wonder whose box they came from…)

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