Q&A - March 24, 2017

I have lived in many different ZIP codes over the course of my lifetime but have found Okmulgee’s code (74447) to be the easiest to remember. When you think about it, a ZIP code is much more than a number to direct correspondence to a town. It’s an identification number that represents a shared lifestyle of people with different beliefs and backgrounds who all live and work together in the same community.

In this column, I normally answer your questions, but today, I would like to pose a multiple choice question to you.

Q:What does the ZIP code 74447 represent in your mind?

It’s funny how people can live and work in the same town and have very different impressions of their community. Some can have positive, optimistic feelings, while others harbor more decidedly negative views and opinions about the same community. Here are four very different reactions that I have observed from local residents about the town of Okmulgee. Perhaps one describes your candid thoughts about what our town represents.

Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP) codes are regionally assigned numbers used by the United States Postal Service since 1963. Any emotions we ascribe to them (good or bad) come from our own perceptions. Honest perceptions are neither right nor wrong, but they are often distinctive. It’s important to acknowledge different viewpoints and be sympathetic to the perceptions of others. The 74447 ZIP code may be assigned to us, but each of us creates our own personal connection to it based on our own unique set of experiences.

Thank you for permitting this reversal from our normal Q & A format. I value your questions and hope to respond to many more in the future. Please send them to osuit-president@okstate.edu.

  1. 74447 is a cage – the home of disappointment, hopelessness and despair. It’s like a place where I am being held against my will with no way to escape. This town has quashed the aspirations of my family for generations, and there’s no hope for me either. I feel like I’m trapped here with no viable alternatives.
  2. 74447 is a humiliation – the cause of disgrace, shame and embarrassment. It’s where I’m from, but I sure hope no one finds out. This little town is only a stopover on my way to bigger and better things in life. I need to get out of here because this place does not reflect well on me.
  3. 74447 is a challenge – the subject of inquest, investigation and concern. It’s where I live or work, and I really want to see it improve. This place is a riddle, inside an enigma, wrapped in a conundrum. I want to make things better here because this town has suffered hard times but still has such potential.
  4. 74447 is a blessing – the source of pride, joy and enthusiasm. It’s my cherished home, and I can’t imagine being happy anywhere else. This special place is deeply sentimental to me; it’s where I feel safe and secure. I love it here and want to enjoy the rest of my days in this friendly little town.