Top 10 Pop Culture Postal Workers
April 27, 2009 | Lists
The current economic shitstorm means sitting down to breakfast every morning, opening the newspaper and reading how the industry in which you work is in as much trouble as the soon-to-be defunct newspaper you’re holding.
If you’re lucky, it’s just a salary cut so that your company can continue to afford that finely quilted toilet paper in the executive shitter while you decide between a bus pass or cable television. If you’re not so lucky your job falls under the “Would have been obsolete anyway, the economy just brought the wolves to the door faster” category. Postal worker is one such job.
Back in the days when a person would sit down and write a longer letter to cousin Edgar inquiring in code about his suspected syphilis infection, or when a messenger under cover of darkness, would inform the townspeople that they would soon become musket fodder if they didn’t read and sign the fine print, mailmen were vital.
Today though, you can email cousin Edgar the Google Map to a good walk-in clinic and with a decent unlimited daily minutes plan, Paul Revere’s ilk these days only live on through messenger bags or MSN.
The US Postal service is on the ropes and unlike Muhammad Ali in his prime, no rope-a-dope strategy is forthcoming. It seems the happy mailman’s days are numbered–– after all, distributing junk mail, coupon books and catalogs to people under house arrest is now the only thing that would fall under a list of vital services in these recessionary times.
They are on their way out despite having delivered more Christmas cash than they stole through sun, shine, snow, rain and the occasional German Shepherd giving that blood pressure medication a run for its money. We have fond – or at least agreeably non-existent – memories of the mail carriers of our youths. Those kids who when walking their dogs would dump the plastic bag of shit into the nearest mailbox to save having to carry it home should be ashamed of themselves.
As a tribute to postal carriers for the stamps they have placed on our hearts, which are actually in PO boxes in a suburban warehouse, we offer our Top 10 Pop Culture Postal Workers! [CLICK HERE FOR THE TOP 5 POSTAL WORKERS]
10. Charlie Utter (played by Dayton Callie on Deadwood): Not much mail got delivered in the Old West due to logistical bugaboos such as ponies becoming bobcat munch, run-ins with brigands and hostile natives or Montezuma’s Revenge settling in after a dinner of campfire chili. Charlie Utter did actually exist in the mud and syphilis paradise of Deadwood, though according to Wiki “he is reported as being extremely meticulous in his appearance … [with] long, flowing blond hair and mustache, perfectly groomed, wore hand-tailored fringed buckskins, fine linen shirts, beaded moccasins, and a large silver belt buckle, and carried a pair of gold, silver, and pearl ornamented pistols.” This is about a world apart from the portrayal of the character given by Dayton Callie, who would be a shoe-in for the role of Bleeding Gums Murphy should The Simpsons ever do a live-action feature.
9. Mr. McFeely (played by David Newell): The most inappropriately named character in the history of children’s television, Mr McFeely was Mr Rogers’ sidekick whose vocational credibility was immediately called into question with his “speedy delivery” catchphrase, a concept as anathema to the postal service as “fine dining experience” is to one of those steak joints that gives you an 80 ouncer free if you manage to keep it down. Dave Newell once said “Working with Fred Rogers was like receiving a master’s degree in child development”, which means that you’ve either blown 2 years and 20 grand on tuition for a low-paying job overseeing nap time, or it was an invaluable learning experience, we’re not sure.
8. The Postman in the Marvelletes song “Please, Mr. Postman”: Prior to email you had to wait for the mail carrier to do things like deliver romance novel rejection letters and ready-to-burn military draft notices. Mailmen also delivered their far share of love letters and notices from that special someone that she’s out on the high seas sharing the cabin of a Puerto Rican sailor she met on Wing Night at the local Stop N’ Gobble. In the Marvelletes song the mailman has his by a woman whose significant other has obviously done a runner. “Please, Mister Postman, look and see/Is there a letter, oh, yeah
In your bag for me/You know it’s been so long/Yes, since I’ve heard from/This boyfriend of mine” The boyfriend is likely in a different time zone — feet given wings perhaps by a pregnancy test coming back the wrong way — and the mailman is left to have to deal with his distraught ex.
7. Founding Father / Presidential Postmen: Presumably due to a high turnover caused by the onset of madness, postal service jobs have in the past been plentiful and this might explain why so many accomplished people have become mailmen like John Prine, William Faulkner, and even Bill Nye, you know, the Science Guy. In a bit of trivia that’s presumably brought up any time a mailman needs a morale boost, the postal service can also count among its historical ranks American presidents. Honest Abe delivered the mail (he also could have been an arse-handing-out pro-wrestling champ had he wanted to be) as did Truman and McKinley. Ben Franklin was an author, printer, satirist, politician, scientist, activist, statesman, inventor, and once bowled a 200 game (the details of which need further corroboration). What is less disputed was that he was named postmaster for the city of Brotherly Love.
6. The guy in Il Postino (the Postman). A simpleton postal worker learns to love poetry while delivering the mail to a famous poet— not to be confused with the Kevin Costner ‘Postman’, where an audience learns to loath movie making after sitting through it. Il Postino inspires anyone who’s ever tried to win the heart of a girl with their heartfelt scribblings and not been rebuffed by restraining order.
THE SHARK GUYS are the authors of the humor books, Tastes Like Human and The Man Who Scared a Shark to Death and Other True Tales of Drunken Debauchery (Penguin).