You’ve heard all about dogs and the mailman, right? How they chase us, bite us, attack us whenever they get the chance? A common trope in stories, especially television and movies is the mailman running down the street, leaving a scattered trail of letters in his wake as he is pursued but a snarling, barking dog.
Well, it’s all true.
Sometimes. With some mailmen. But not with me.
I like dogs. I usually get along with them very well, no real problems. I do have a couple (okay, maybe three or four) of dogs on my route that definitely do not like me, but those are few and far between and a very small percentage of the dogs who actually live on my route. Most of the dogs I talk to, pat, and play with. The only thing I do not do is feed them. I used to, years ago, but I’d forget to buy biscuits, run out, and feel bad. So I just stopped feeding them and have contented myself with patting and playing with them ever since. It’s been almost eighteen years that I’ve been doing the job, and though I’ve been barked at, charged and even attacked, I’ve never actually had a dog draw blood from me.
So there I was, walking around the corner, middle of the sidewalk, minding my own business. I had the bag in one shoulder, arms and hands full of mail, just tooling along and sorting as I walked. Suddenly, without warning, there was a high-pitched yip and a sharp pain from the back of my right calf. The yip was not from me, but from the small brown and white dog that went streaking down the sidewalk like a runaway bottle-rocket. A low-to-the-ground, furry, sharp-toothed bottle-rocket. The yip couldn’t have come from me anyway, as I was too busy showing off my facility with language by stringing together nearly every curse-word I know into one long, interesting and creative swear.
It took a long time. I know quite a few curse-words, and I was very motivated.
When I was done exercising my creativity I had to call the office and report it. I couldn’t tell them anything about the dog other than I didn’t get a good look at it and it definitely did not belong to the owner of the house it happened in front of — she doesn’t even own a dog. One of the clerks answered the phone, and though my supervisor was not available to talk to, the clerk was nice enough to run out to me with some of the contents of the first-aid station we have there in the office. Thus, in short order I had some antiseptic spray and a stack of band aids and bandages of various sizes.
I had planned to head to the local pharmacy and buy some of this stuff for myself, but hey, this was even better! Someone from the office was actually taking care of me for a change, rather than just pushing me to do a little more, work a little faster. It was a nice. Very different, but nice.
A short time later my supervisor stopped by my route and checked on me. He had talked with the clerk who had run the supplies out to me, but he wanted to come out and see for himself that I was okay. Now, I wasn’t fooled by this — he was simply worried that I might not finish on time, mess wit h his numbers, maybe somehow make him look bad. I understood this… but it was still kind of nice to have him stopping by to check on me like that, treating me like a human being. Different, but nice.
Then, a short time after Boss’s visit, the Postmaster drove by to check on me. I started to feel kind of special, getting all this attention. I mean, really, all I had was a little nip on the back of one calf, the whole thing only about the size of a dime, and I was getting visits, supplies run out to me… I might have started to get a swelled head, maybe asked for favors. I probably could have asked for someone to come out and take some of my workload from me, and it might have even worked. The Postmaster left after a short talk, and I returned to walking about my route delivering the mail.
I was doing my job, but was consumed with thoughts that I should have made a request, that I should have asked for some help so I could just slow down a little and relax. I was thinking that I might have even gotten it, too… when two mail trucks pulled up behind mine. One carrier had been sent to help me finish my work while the other was just showing her where I was. He was willing, though, to help me finish on his own. In other words, I had not one, but two people out there offering to do some of my work for me.
And I hadn’t even asked for any help.
So I’ve been thinking. The feeling of being slightly important was nice. The being treated like a person rather than a tool to be used was nice too. But none of that was as nice as having two people show up willing to do my work for me.
So, like I said, I’ve been thinking.
All this came from a small nip on the back of the leg. What might happen if I was actually bitten? I mean, for real? Like, requiring medical attention and everything.
I’ve decided to find out.
As I write this, the work shirt I intend to wear on Monday is soaking in a vat of chicken broth. The shorts I will wear are in a similar vat, this one filled with beef broth. I plan to rub the gravy from a few cans of Alpo dog food onto my legs before I get out on the road with my deliveries, and I will have a pork chop in each back pocket.
If I survive the day, I fully anticipate being treated as a Postal God!
…or a bloody idiot. I’ll have to see which way this plays out.