Your letters are running 17 to 1 in favor of selling the United States Postal Service to private stockholders. I would have wagered that a majority would be against such a move.

Perhaps the decision to raise postage rates again was a factor. And perhaps a better explanation is that those who are angry are far more likely to write than those who are not.

Meanwhile I continue to get letters complaining that "each time the rates go up, the service gets worse."

For example, Frances Oyster, who lives in Clinton and whose ZIP number is 20735, has sent me three correctly addressed envelopes delivered to her recently.

Upon examining them, I find that a letter from Atlanta was mistakenly sent to Chesapeake Beach (20732) first. A letter from Silver Spring went to Boyds (20720) instead of to Clinton. And the last one took only three days to get to this area from Hong Kong, but unfortunately it went to Rockville, not Clinton, and delivery was delayed for several days.

One is left to wonder why letters that bear correct addresses and ZIP numbers are so often sent at random to cities all over the globe.

Fortunately, there's one kind word for the Swift Couriers of the USPS. It comes from Hugh B. O'Hara of Falls Church, who writes: "On Friday afternoon, 2/13, we discovered we had failed to send a valentine card to Charley, our No. 8 and youngest child, a law student at Williamsburg, Va. We dropped one in a box in the outer lobby of the Falls Church post office at 5:20 p.m. Charley received it the next day (and he lives about six miles from campus). So here is a cheer for the postal service."

You hear that, Swift Couriers? It's a valentine for you . Sorry it's so late in reaching you, but a computer is now writing the District Line column, and you know how things are when automation takes over.