Friday, December 26, 2014

My Size 15 Postal Stumbling Block(s)

By Mel Carriere

If this picture of the Christmas yard decoration you see above hadn't been taken in 2010, I would swear that they used me for source material.  On Monday I took another tumble for the team and it looked an awful lot like this.  Regardless of where these Yuletide Yard Art Comedians drew their artistic inspiration, mine was just another in a long series of postal pratfalls I have taken since starting this job 21 years ago tomorrow, and the blame rests squarely on my own two feet.

The problem is that my feet are size 15 - both of them thank goodness, and when your job is walking all day having size 15 feet is like driving a high clearance vehicle, except in reverse.  Sooner or later you are not going to calculate correctly and the gargantuan gun boats you drag around are going to scrape against something, sort of like the Titanic hitting an iceberg.  The result most of the time is a brief stumble that I can recover from and retain my balance, but every once in a while this cat doesn't land on his feet.  The older I get, the more frightening this becomes.

On Monday I was delivering a package to a doorstep when my feet radar missed a small step on a concrete walkway that was sort of covered over with grass.  I think the miscalculation was made because the part of my brain that is the foot computer is still programmed for size 13.  When I started this job I was "only" size 13.  Postal tootsies tend to expand with use.  21 years have passed and the brain circuitry still hasn't been rewired.  The guidance control system is just not taking into account the extra two sizes.  I would call the VMF but they would just screw it up worse and say they fixed it.

Fortunately I fell forward onto soft grass, but I think my left tit crashed directly on my cell phone.  The cell phone is just fine.  I, on the other hand, have been experiencing significant pain in the rib cage area, but so far have not bothered to go to the doctor.  Every time I break something in the line of duty the doctors just tell me to walk it off big boy, there's nothing we can do.  In 2002 I suffered a hairline crack on the pelvis after I slipped on a speed bump and fell directly on my rump.  The doctor literally told me to walk it off because he said exercise would help the blood flow.  He sent me home with some pain pills.

For this reason I haven't gone to the doctor yet.  What's the point, if they aren't going to do anything?  I have plenty Ibuprofen 800 already that I can use to self medicate.  Of course, with my luck, this might be the one type of injury where they actually have to immobilize and hospitalize you, or you risk imminent death.  I think I'll just wash that Motrin down with another beer and see how I feel tomorrow.

Here are some more noteworthy stumbles I have suffered in my 21 years:

Last year, during one of our rare San Diego rainstorms, I slipped and fell twice in the same day.  The second fall took place barely an hour after the first.  My butt broke the scanner, which was in my back pocket, but I kept going.

In 2012 my head crashed against a low hanging branch.  I can't blame my faulty feet for that one.  I fell backwards into some wonderfully soft grass; which makes me grateful that at least the postal gods always seem to give me a soft landing.  It was a sunny day, and I remember looking up at the serene blue sky and thinking how nice it would be to go to sleep there.  Luckily a lady driving by witnessed the scene and screamed out if I was okay.  If it wasn't for her I might have passed out.  As it was I got up and kept going.

It just occurred to me that one of these days I am not going to be able to get up and keep going.

The funny thing is that my 74 year old mother recently took a tumble and was in rehab for a broken leg, and just a couple of days before my fall I was joking with her on the phone about how many times I have fallen in the line of duty and come away mostly unscathed.  This was the wrong thing to joke about.  Do not put the postal gods to the test, or you may find yourself in rehab alongside your mother, being forced to watch Oprah and reruns of Murder She Wrote all day.

I hope all of you have conquered your postal stumbling blocks, and are forever lithe and nimble on your own, hopefully superbly guided feet.  I invite you to leave a comment to share your personal postal missteps, and to subscribe to the Tsunami via the links to the right if the spirit or your gorgeous, graceful, ballet dancing feet move you to do so.  Thanks for reading!

Photo by retired letter carrier Bill Schindler, taken from

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