August 18, 2014
You can learn a whole lot from watching old westerns on TV. For example:
- Most towns are run by a gang that has the sheriff intimidated. This is true from The Magnificent Seven to A Fistful of Dollars to today’s New York City, where Al Sharpton has been pulling the strings of Mayor Li’l Billy De Blasio and dictating police policy for months.
- Shoot first, ask questions later. But if you shoot well enough, the answers become irrelevant. Weren’t a whole lot of answers to be given after the gunfight at the OK corral, and no one left alive to answer them anyway. Usually, when a gunslinger has called you out in the middle of Main Street for a shootout, you pretty much know why. Marty McFly knew exactly why Mad Dog Tannen called him out in Back to The Future III. (“I do my killing before breakfast.” “Oh yeah? I do my killing after breakfast.”)
- The post office has been around from the earliest days of settled America and is just now getting around to delivering Christmas presents from 1876.
A few weeks back the post office had decided, as it usually does, to just not care about delivering packages for a while. Not that they do much of a job of it anyway. Usually, in Saarah’s building, the mailman slows his truck just long enough to toss some mail into the bushes of the building next door. On this particular day, Saarah was waiting for a package, a small box about the weight of six magic markers and a crayon, to arrive.
So what happened? Take your best, most educated guess.
- The package was delivered to her apartment door by the courteous and polite mailman.
- The mailman left a slip in her mailbox so she could pick it up at the post office.
- The mailman did nothing but eat a gyro as he walked past the building, yet the package was marked as delivered on the USPS website.
The correct answer is #3, but to be honest, he may have been eating a hot dog, not a gyro.
When Saarah tracked the package online and saw that they claimed it was delivered, she shrewdly knew that the information was incorrect by the clever deduction that the package was not delivered and we went down to the post office on Saturday to pick it up.
Saarah and I pulled up to the post office about 2 seconds after the pair of cars ahead of us also pulled up. Both of those cars were the same distance from the muni-meter, I was just behind one of the cars. This is important. Now I don’t know about your local post office, but all the ones in my area (and this is especially true on a Saturday) are staffed by one sleepy postal worker who may or may not speak enough English to order a Big Mac, and no one else. On a Saturday, there is generally a long, grumpy line, and it only gets worse as the time passes since the office closes at one. If for any reason your local post office is clean and efficient, with plenty of help behind the counter and short, fast lines, please tell me which drugs you are taking.
This is where the Old West theme I started with really kicks in. Cue the theme from The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly.
The drivers of the two other cars got out and eyed each other. One had a package, half sealed, and a roll of tape. The other had a stack of letters in a box. They looked at each other, looked at each other’s mail, then both turned their eyes to the muni-meter. It all came down to the meter. Whoever got there first would get their ticket first and get into the post office first. And they both knew it.
Just like the final shootout of The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly.
They stood and stared into each other’s eyes. Neither moved. Their eyes. Their mail. The meter. Their mail. The meter. Their eyes.
It was tense. You could hear a tumble weed roll by. You could hear the gentle snoring coming from the post office window.
And suddenly they both had the same thought and dashed as fast as they could to the meter. It was as if they were having a showdown in front of the post office, but instead of drawing guns, it came down to who was quicker to the muni-meter.
No matter who won, though, I was destined to be third in line, meaning they would both beat me to the post office, one with a huge stack of mail, one with an unfinished package, and who-knows-how-long of a line already in the office.
But none of it mattered because as soon as I pulled up, Saarah had jumped out and went into the post office ahead of all of us and beat the other two and got in line a good three minutes first, and in that time some other people got in line so the two ahead of me were a good five people behind Saarah.
I put my money into the meter, put the ticket on my dashboard, and sauntered into the post office just in time to meet Saarah at the window.
The white hats won this one.