MY FIRST INSTINCT was to blame it on Newman.

I was furious as I read of the transgressions at the Postal Service's distribution plant in Southwest Philadelphia that included falsified records and even destruction of mail. This sounded like the work of Newman, the evil postal worker on "Seinfeld" who habitually violated the creed requiring postal employees to deliver mail despite rain, sleet or snow.

Like most Americans, I depend on the mail system for communications for professional purposes, greeting cards to relatives, utility bills, newspaper subscriptions and many other services. I had noticed recently that I wasn't receiving bills, and out-of-state newspapers were arriving weeks late.

Four or five years ago, postal substations reduced hours as the Iraq war revved up, leading me to conclude: They must fund the war somehow.

Obviously, too much work, too few people. Or, as Newman explained post office violence, "Because the mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming. There's never a letup. It's relentless. Every day it piles up more and more, but the more you get out, the more it keeps coming."

You have to wonder if the postal service got these ideas from watching Newman's antics - which included stashing tons of mail that he was too lazy to deliver.

Bruce S. Ticker, Philadelphia