By Mel Carriere
2014 was an up and down year for letter carriers. For a lot of you it started off with the snow-called "polar vortex," a meteorological catastrophe which brought record breaking blizzards, cold and ice to the Midwest and points east, and months of misery for frostbitten mailmen and mail-ladies. Polar "selfies" by Eskimo-like letter carriers abounded on Facebook and other social media sources. So far complaints and comments about the cold seem to have subsided in this winter of 2014-15, indicating probably better than the weatherman ever could that the temperatures this winter are milder for those of you in cold climes, although we actually dipped into the 30s here in sunny San Diego the last couple of nights.
There were some good things that happened in 2014 as well, as you can see from the small photo sampling above of notable 2014 moments. In addition to this Polar Selfie of a Nebraska letter carrier, the NALC food drive was again a rousing success, our postal-dismantling Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe resigned, and postal-hating "wicked witch" Darrell Issa is now out as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
So in light of these positive developments 2015 is bound to be a better year, right? I certainly hope this will be the case, and I'm going to do my part to help make it so by molding myself into a better letter carrier and a better person all around. Toward this end I have compiled a list of 2015 New Year's Mailman Resolutions that should help make the Postal Service a better, funner, nicer, kinder, gentler, more enlightened and exciting place to work. Here it goes.
- I resolve not to eat any donuts or other baked goods found on the swing room table that look like they have been there more than three days, no matter how ravenous I am after ten hours on the street.
- I resolve to keep my grouchy, caffeine deprived opinions to myself at 7:30 in the morning when the clerks are throwing parcels to the tune of 80s easy listening favorites like "Reunited," "Sailing," "Endless Love," "How am I supposed to live without you," or any other sleep inducing melodies that make me inclined to throw one of my size 15 shoes at them.
- I resolve to smile sweetly at every customer that says "you can keep the bills," "just checks no bills," "hope you didn't bring me any bills," or any other statement that includes the words "bills," "checks," "Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes winnings," or one of a number of key phrases indicating that this person is very lonely, probably because they are extremely unskilled at creating new and interesting conversation starters.
- I resolve to no longer deliberately try to blind postal customers with my headlamp after they tell me I am "late" at 5:15 on a Monday afternoon, realizing that they have probably been standing there since noon and have deep-seated psychological issues that go way beyond insisting on using a sundial to tell time, even though technology has moved forward since around the start of the 14th century, when the clock was invented.
- I resolve not to use any swear words my Grandmother would not approve of after busting my knuckles open trying to stuff mail into a mailbox that hasn't been emptied since around the 4th of July.
- I resolve not to use hand signals or other inappropriate physical gestures while driving, except for those actually authorized by the DMV manual. Furthermore, I will restrict my use of any colorful exclamations beginning with the letter "F" to five times daily, having been given a note by my doctor stating that banishing these terms from my vocabulary completely could result in severe brain hemorrhaging when stuck behind stupid drivers in heavy traffic.
Happy New Year from the Postal Tsunami! Thanks for your wonderful support in 2014 and your continuing visits to these pages in 2015.