Going Postal: Day 4

bub.jpgDAY 4: The Battle of Yonkers

In Max Brooks’ brilliant book World War Z, an “oral history” of mankind’s desperate struggle to survive a zombie apocalypse, he writes of the legendary Battle of Yonkers. This brutal confrontation takes place just outside New York City, where military forces gather for the first all-out confrontation with a massive, shambling horde of the walking dead. The military is quickly over-taken by the zombies, sustaining unbelievable casualties as the seemingly never-ending forces of animated corpses stream into Yonkers. Last night, during my second night of being “in action” for the USPS, I kept thinking about the Battle of Yonkers.

Sorting, handling and processing the mail is a lot like fighting zombies. At some point last night, I felt like the one of the cast members of Dawn of the Dead—either version, it don’t matter—when they are standing on the roof of the abandoned mall, surveying the constantly growing number of zombies. There are so many of them. Where do they come from? What do the want? Will they ever stop?

That’s what the mail is like. It is always there. Sometimes the mail doesn’t seem that unmanageable, just a steady flow that can be dealt with—sort of like the slow shamblers George Romero depicts in his classic zombies films. As long as you pace yourself, keep your cool, and don’t get caught off-guard, you will be fine. But other times the mail is overwhelming and relentless, crashing down on you like a wave of the infected in 28 Days Later. But no matter which fighting-the-flesh-eaters the situation resembles, it all seems terribly hopeless. You know that no matter how much mail comes your way, there will always be more to replace it. And as Brooks writes in World War Z, there comes a point where you realize that you are dealing with enemy that has no real agenda, it simply exists, and there is no reasoning or bargaining with it on a human level, because it is not human. The mail means you no harm, it’s simply trying to get from one place to another, and it has no feelings whatsoever about you or anyone else it encounters in its journey. The mail is mindless, thoughtless and has no human characteristics at all. But it can attack you physically, which we as people then take personally, and that’s how the mail, and the zombies win the war.

Last night I worked several different areas, handling mail in multiple capacities. At no point did I ever feel like I knew what I was doing, like I was getting ahead or even keeping up with the situation, and worst of all, I knew that no matter how proficient I may become at handling mail, I am pretty insignificant in the broad scheme of things. On the flipside, me and a bunch of other guys got sent home after putting in a 9 ½ hour shift, which meant I got to bed at 3:15 am rather than 4:15 am.

My body is killing me. I ache all over, especially my back and shoulders. But the think that hurts the most is my left index finger. Who knows what the fuck that is about?

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