It's better to be safe than sorry on address

I am hoping you can settle a point of disagreement. Our family lives on East Main Street in Medford. One of our family leaves out the "East" when filling out forms and as a return address, saying it doesn't matter because our house number doesn't exist on West Main. I believe in Murphy's law and think it is less likely to somehow cause confusion if we all put an "E." before the "Main St." Should I not worry about this another millisecond?

— Heidi J., Medford

We are a wee bit worried that you are a believer in Murphy's law, Heidi. That old chestnut, 'If anything can go wrong, it will,' makes the House of SYA jumpy, full of angst.

But, after crossing our fingers and toes and wiping the spilled coffee off the floor, we decided to prove that Mr. Murphy has no power over us. We picked up your question and strode boldly forward, calling Tony Plante, the friendly Medford postmaster.

He answered on the first ring, by the way, a sign that things are going well.

"It is always a good idea to include the complete address, particularly when there is a street with an 'East' and a 'West,' " he said after pondering your question.

The problem, he observed, is that there can be a delay in delivery if the carrier is unable to determine the address is correct.

The bottom line, Heidi, is that you, personally, don't have to worry about it at all. But the other person in your household, the Postal Service scofflaw, needs to add the "East" before everything goes west, so to speak.

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