On UPS and Downs

New Year’s resolutions are fine, but it’s best not to share them publicly because then you look like an idiot when you don’t succeed. We all make resolutions or at least think about what we’d like the next year to look like, but a formal declaration is an exercise in futility and just adds more pressure to life. Just keep swimming/breathing/moving/rockin’. That is all I can come up with at this juncture.  Can we call this a juncture?

A lot of times, people get in their own way. One common mental mistake is thinking, or rather worrying that someone else has a better life.  Or a better job.

Of course they do!  Your job sucks!  Your life is miserable!  Loser!!!

Kidding.  You’re not a loser.  You’re a winner and everyone likes you.   The point is, we don’t really know what another person’s life is like. That said, if they have this house…..

Author admiring a brand-spankin’-new beachfront Malibu mansion. Behind those rocks? A pool, and to the left, a guest house that’s bigger than yours. Your whole house I mean. Even if you live in a big house. (Photo copyright 2019 by Kiki Ryan)

.,,,their life is probably ONE WHOLE HELL OF A LOT BETTER THAN YOURS.

To be sure, this is an extreme example.  More often than not, we compare ourselves and our lives to others more in more similar circumstances, like the proverbial Jones’s.

Case in point:  On the way out to the garage the other day, a UPS guy and a Postal Worker were talking near the mailboxes. They seemed friendly with each other, just a couple of guys in similar jobs having a nice chat.

After putzing around in the garage for ten minutes, I went back inside and passed these guys again. They were still chatting all friendly-like, which made me wonder, what were they talking about for so long?  Work?  Family?  Vacations?  Life?

Then I thought, no wonder the mail is so damn slow with these guys hanging out talking instead of delivering stuff!

Sorry, back to our topic: my next thought was, which one of these guys is jealous the other guy has a much better job?  Is it better to work for UPS or USPS? (Yes, I spend precious time thinking about dumb stuff.)

Lets take uniforms.  They both get to wear shorts when it’s hot, which isn’t true for most jobs, so that’s a positive for both.  The UPS brown thing? What can brown do for you?  I’m not a big brown wearer, but in and of itself it’s not a bad color.  And yet, wearing an outfit that matches the color of your truck?  Not cool.

Of course, the postal uniform is rather silly, with those pants with the stripe, like military trousers.  Even the shorts with the stripe. The pith helmet in the summer is awesome but you don’t see those as often these days.  Maybe only senior mail carriers have them.  You  earn that pith helmet through years of braving snow or rain or heat or gloom of night.

Newman Post Truck_web_edited-1
A mail carrier in new USPS uniform. Note striped trouser.

Now it seems they let some carriers wear whatever they like.  Sometimes you’re walking down the street and see some young woman laboring along with a giant burden and then realize that although she’s dressed like a college student, she is carrying a mailbag and in fact works for the post office.

When did this happen? Isn’t it better to have them look like mail carriers so we know to trust them with our mail? Maybe these are just college kids taking part time work during busy mailing seasons and the post office doesn’t want to pay for extra uniforms?  This makes sense from a cost standpoint, but shouldn’t mail carriers look like mail carriers? They come to your door. They have the keys to all the mailboxes. This requires trust!

Sorry, back on point, from a pure uniform standpoint, it’s pretty even, maybe a slight edge to UPS for color coordination.

The kid makes a nice living. But even if he has a license, how can he reach the pedals?
“Kyle.” Sorry, couldn’t resist. Don’t know the dog’s name.

UPS has pretty good benefits, but you need to submit to regular drug testing, which makes sense since they drive trucks on public roads.  The post office has pretty good benefits, but it’s not part of the federal government anymore and they probably drug test too, but I’m not sure because I don’t know any mail carriers, whereas I once knew a UPS driver.  Or FedEx.  Same thing, really.  In any event, it’s confusing.  Is the Post Office a federal agency or its own thing?

Turns out it’s “quasi-federal,” whatever the hell that means, an “independent agency” under the Executive branch. Postal workers are NOT federal employees but they get federal benefits and are supposed to adhere to federal employment rules.  So the Post Office wins a bit on benefits.

Let’s not forget, however, that postal workers are famous for murdering their co-workers, hence the term “going postal.”  I went into my local post office a while back to get stamps and the female Asian clerk asked with great joy, quote, “do you want John Lennon?”  It was confusing; who wouldn’t want John Lennon?  We need John Lennon more than ever.  But she meant the new John Lennon stamps that look like a 45-single cover on the back of the sheet.  Really nice so I bought one to use and one to keep.

The woman jokes with the Muslim clerk next to her about not knowing who John Lennon was, and then he makes believe that she’s saying that I’m the one who doesn’t know who John Lennon was.  Jocularity all around. I’m thinking, hey, here’s diversity!  Here’s the melting pot! A Jew walks into a post office and talks to an Asian woman and a Muslim man about an English musician and artist.  It was a very hopeful and positive moment even if it does sound like the set-up to a bad ethnic joke.

Unfortunately, every time I’ve been in that post office since, everyone is miserable and there is at least one customer complaining, on the verge of rage, about some service indignity, Even the Asian lady and the Muslim guy aren’t smiling.  The older clerk with the grey beard and hair dressed as Santa for the holidays, but his expression was so grim it was doubly disturbing.  It begged the question: is Santa packing heat?

So, there you go.  UPS wins. Why?  No real dealing with the public except one at a time, from your truck.  You never really “go to UPS.”  UPS Stores are glorified mailbox rental places, not UPS offices.  The post office sucks and makes people want to yell and shoot at each other. It’s unlikely that shooting your co-worker will one day be referred to as “going all UPS on his ass.”  Go Brown!

Of course, USPS will always have Cliff Clavin, Jr.

This hea is what ya call yaw real mail carriah ya know?

– Verbal cartoon: A really square-looking gentleman sits at a desk in a small office.  He’s so boring, he is grey.  A big fellow comes in to the room, picks him up and carries him out like a piece of furniture. The big fellow returns carrying another guy, only the new guy is dressed in really cool, trendy clothes, with some noticeably stylized facial hair and glasses.  The big guy sets the hipster down behind the same desk.

Caption: hip replacement

That’s it for the first blog post of 2019.  Remember, you may never get that house on Billionaire’s Beach in Malibu, or work for UPS, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t a good person!  Happy New Year!

And if you haven’t already, please order your copy of Smoking In Bed and leave a review when you’ve finished reading it.  You can also get in touch through this website for an author-autographed copy!

You can also support our local bookstores and economy by going out to buy signed copies of Smoking In Bed at Book Soup in West Hollywood and soon available at Vroman’s in Pasadena!  If you have Amazon Prime with Kindle you can read it for free!!!

Smoking In Bed – Amazon.com

#HappyNewYear #2019 #dogsincars #dogsinuniform #postoffice #mailcarrier #UPS #Malibu #lifesabeach #richpeople

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