Monday, March 14, 2005



I must be getting really old. It never dawned on me how resistant to change I am becoming. I mean I consider myself a progressive. I believe in change, in progress. It’s why I am a democrat. But today something happened to make me realize how resistant to change I have become.

As a part of my job, for the last twenty years,I have delivered the mail to the Shipshewana IN post office. And every Monday afternoon for the past twenty years, I have used the facilities there. So today,as always, I grabbed the first decent magazine off the recycling pile (Cosmo with Avril Lavigne on the cover). I went in, sat down, opened Cosmo, when suddenly I got this very disquieting feeling that something was amiss. I jumped up, pulled up the drawers, and dashed out of the room. I looked around, desperately hoping no one had noticed my bizarre behavior. All clear. Then I looked at the door. It said MEN. I went back in and looked around. Then it dawned on me. THE TREE WAS MISSING.

Every day of at least the last twenty years, a 7’ tall plastic tree has stood sentry in the corner of the men's room. Now the corner was empty. I cracked open the door and called out “Hey, we’ve been robbed!” A clerk and a rural route carrier came running over. When I told them our tree was gone, they looked at each other and said in unison “Helga!” It seems the Shipshe PO has a new cleaning service.

Neither the clerk or the carrier has actually met the cleaning person. And nobody as of yet knows her name. They refer to her as “Helga” for the Aryan efficiency she has brought to the place in her first week on the job. Everything is meticulously organized, and spotlessly clean. And she has robbed the place of all it’s character.

At first, I joked around about our missing tree. Then I realized, I WAS REALLY UPSET. I am suddenly guilty of that longing for things to remain unchanged. The ramifications are obvious. Am I about to become that old geezer that I have always rolled my eyes at. You know, the one who is always telling you how great things were when they were kids. always talking about FATHER KNOWS BEST, and OZZIE AND HARRIET, how families ate dinner together every night then settled down to watch UNCLE MILTIE on tv. Conveniently forgetting about backyard fallout shelters, us kids sitting in the school hallway with our heads tucked between our legs, practicing the life saving head tuck that would surely save us when the Ruskies dropped the big one. Conveniently forgetting about Jim Crow and lynchings and Joe McCarthy.

Am I about to start telling my grandkids about how much better things were when I was a kid. When drugs were cheap, sex was free, rock and roll reigned, and the Boone’s Farm and Ripple flowed like White Zinfandel? God, am I becoming that geezer I despise?

We were informed that another rural route carrier, Becky, had taken tree out of the dumpster and taken it home. As I was leaving, I noticed the RR carrier staring blankly into the once charmingly cluttered furnace room. “Sad isn’t it?” I asked. She looked up and said “oh, no, I was just thinking that I'm worried about Becky. What in the world would possess her to take home a tree that that was in the men's room for twenty years? You know one of you guys musta pee’d in it at one time or another!”

What in the world possesses Becky? Woah, there isn’t enough space on blogger to tackle THAT one!

I laughed so hard at this I almost peed in my pants. That is too funny. Maybe she'll decorate the tree for christmas...
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