As a postal worker, Mark had plenty of time to wonder in his head about things. Being in the post was not the most boring job ever, but wasn’t also complex that would put his brain cells to work that much. A bit of letter sorting and route planning was more than he needed to perform his job well and, even though he had a few neurons to spare, that actually didn’t help with his boss’ appraisal.
Not that Mark’s boss didn’t welcome a bit of thinking, it’s just that sometimes, too much thinking can do more harm than good. Nevertheless, Mark had that job for a few years now, and no plans to actually make a change. He had no family to care for, nor any massive debt to pay out and wasn’t particularly good looking to actually have a girlfriend.
But all that averageness wouldn’t help Mark to stop thinking about those things. Things that would make him loose his job. Things that always made him awkward when talking to women. Things that nobody else could understand, and nobody cared for that matter. Probably the very reason why he was thinking about it again this morning…
Between delivering some spam to a semi-detached family house and dropping a small box to a bungalow with lots of rubbish on the pavement, he thought how hard it is to do what people expect you to. Why do we have to deliver spam to half the country? Why can’t he just skip the spam, since nobody wants it anyway, and just deliver the good stuff? Would they really know if he’d delivered the spam in the first place?
For a few minutes that day, people walking down the pavement were somewhat annoyed with the presence of a motionless postman holding a few flyers. He was thinking… If they were actually paying attention, people on that street, that day, would see a perfectly regular postman sorting through his delivery quota in his bag with anger, until all the flyers were in his hand. He opened the green bin of that bungalow, and dropped them all in there.
To be honest, one mother coming down the high street, immediately after dropping her daughter at school (and the usual chat with other parents), actually saw all that happening. But her head was so full of problems, her daughter’s performance in school wasn’t that good and her husband, if you can call that husband, wasn’t being particularly nice that day. She dismissed the whole scene as another common madness of the world.
Mark was anxious, waiting for someone to say something, to reprehend him or to cheers for his bravery, but nothing really happened. It was exactly the same village as he was just a few minutes ago. A very radical move from his part had no damage whatsoever on the course of man kind. It was in that moment that he decided to do that every day.
For 3 years he put all the flyers in random bins (there weren’t that many, but he managed to hid some other on random places, too). To no surprise, absolutely nothing happened to any one. Local business were still working, Tesco was still full of people buying the same chicken wings on sale and the brand new chip shop had a very good clientèle, despite all their spam going to the bin every day.
With great power…
His success was a bit disappointing. Not only he managed to keep doing for so long, but nobody ever cared. Now, people were actually used to seeing him dropping flyers, no matter how extravagant were his moves around green bins. People would even greet him good morning while he was doing it. But he wasn’t a normal fellow, and his sense of righteousness put him on track to reform society. Small changes for a small man, but nevertheless, changes.
He decided to do every right thing where a wrong thing was expected. He delivered letters to doctors on the same day, even when a second class stamp was used. He’d slack off during most of the afternoon to deliver the big packages during the evening, when everybody was at home. He even delivered letters to people he knew while shopping and one day he replied to a letter himself.
It was a letter to a marriage lawyer firm on the postbox next to school. The letter was a bit crumpled and had a very shaky hand writing. He knew exactly from who that was and why. He replied:
Dear Mrs. Wife,
Your husband is a crook. He gambles the unemployment benefit, he hits your daughter and has an affair with more people that I’d dare to say.
You don’t need a lawyer, you need to slap him in the face and throw him out of your house.
If that ever helped, nobody knows, but how that made him feel better, is inexplicable. The good feeling was taking over his life. He was less tense, had a few dates with the bakery attendant and even sent a letter to his mother. But all that feeling was stopped dead by a call from his boss. Apparently there were some complaints that the postal service was a bit erratic and some letters were not reaching their destinations.
Mark’s boss reassured him that he trusted Mark, but wanted him to know that there would be some investigations and questions to all members of staff. As it turned out, another postman was unhappy about his work and stopped delivering anything and went to the pub for the few last days. After a weekend delivering more letters than usual, everything went back to normal.
Happiness is ethereal
During the next few months, Mark managed to have a sound relationship with Emma (the bakery attendant) and they were actually happy. After the year’s end, Mark got a raise and could now afford a cable TV subscription. He didn’t get the sports pack, since Emma wanted the entertainment one, but all was fine as long as she was there, with him.
However, as it couldn’t be different, Mark started to wonder… He was really happier now than some years ago. The whole city seemed to have accepted his behaviour, no matter how odd. Even Emma ignored the issue after Mark told her during one of their first dates. It really wasn’t that important. How is that possible?
Can he, then, do whatever he wants? To what extent will bending the laws imposed by the people actually go before people start noticing, and doing something about it? How can some people do so little and go to jail, while him, with such a radical take on life, gets completely ignored. What would he have to do to be noticed?
In whatever group you are, Mark realised, as long as you don’t interfere with its natural course, you will be ignored. He learnt from the one of the documentary channels that this is true with every animal. Man is not more than any other animal. Society is not more than any other group. Not only you can do whatever you want, as long as that doesn’t interfere with the group, but everything you do will be completely ignored and, when you die, forgotten.
Obviously, Mark’s new take on life put some dents in his relationship, but he managed to suppress his thoughts while Emma was around. He wouldn’t want to loose her, not after so much trouble to get her. He also agreed not to talk weird while her friends would come over, and that took their relationship to a marriage, and life went on as you know it.
To be honest, I never heard of a postman named Mark, but according to his own theories, he could very much have existed and you’ll never know it…