As some of you know, I worked for a couple years as a courier (delivery
guy) in the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area. I worked for a small
company, using my own car. Sometimes, during that period, people would
ask me what a day in the life of a courier is like. Actually, that never happened,
but it's a good lead-in for what follows. Here then, is:
A Courier's Journal: September 15, 1999
Passed a bar called SILLY AL'S.
I scarcely ever go to bars,
but that name was practically
enough to make me want to start!
The Mast* and the Drugstore
A mast had a cold, and had to go out to look for a drugstore, to get some kleenex.
After a few blocks, he came to a construction site, with men working, and a big sign, saying:
COMING, SPRING OF 2000."
The mast sat down on the ground.
"I'll wait," he told the guy with a shovel near him.
His notebook, grabbed by a gust of wind,
flew out the window as he was driving his car.
Without a moment's hesitation, he pulled his car
to a stop, flung open the door, and dove into traffic
to pick up the notebook.
He was promptly run over by a dozen cars, to where
they could not tell if it was his body, or a giant
overturned truckload of Silly Putty, on the asphalt.
At the Gates of Heaven, the man met St. Peter.
"Hmmm", said St. Peter, scratching his beard with
bewilderment. "It says here that you're a writer and you
dove out of your car into traffic, just to get your notebook.
Is that true?"
"What can I say?" said the man. "I hadn't posted one
of the stories in there to the List-serv yet!"
Mirrors Don't Lie
I said to a person cleaning a big mirror at the Hospital
this morning: "Let me see how you're doing."
I looked in the mirror, gave her an ok sign. "Good job."
She laughed, understood.
Asked a receptionist this AM, (always curious about books people are
into), "What are you reading?" She was turning the pages of some book.
Thought it might be a Bible.
"Blah blah blah blah," she said.
I couldn't unerstand her, till she repeated it several times.
Finally, I heard it: Butcher's Theater, the book was called.
"Oh, I said. "Very interesting."
I politely excused myself and went on my way out the door.
What Won't They Think of Next?
11:45 AM: a radio ad for a new retail store:
You pick out your own funeral accourtrments,
at your leisure or "in the time of need."
Great idea, but I think maybe their marketing
strategy should include a name make-over. How 'bout
Caskets R Us (?)
In the Realm of (Very) Small Miracles
Another radio ad, for the Summit Restaurant, downtown,
where they play Frank Sinatra music all the time,
even in the bathrooms. The ad says 200 N. Broadway,
at Olive. I look at the street signs my car's passing.
Wow! 200 N. Broadway and Olive! And I even have
to go to the bathroom!
Those amazing times walking onto an elevator singing a song,
and the elevator's singing the same song!
Or, twice in a day recently, turning on the radio
while humming a tune and getting that same tune!
Those guys who plaster the whole backs of their cars with
unbelievably crude bumper stickers,
as though announcing to the world,
"Hey, everybody, I'm an idiot!"
The Stairwell Crooner
He had tried the club circuit when he'd been younger.
He loved to sing, but that had been a no go.
Perhaps he'd been too shy, performing in front of crowds.
Now, he sang in stairwells.
Great acoustics! Arias, pop songs, show tunes...
Nobody ever saw him. He was always
A flight below, or above,
But his voice throbbed through the entire
Stair vestibule of a buildingstirring, thick, authentic.
Closing your eyes, you could really imagine yourself
At Carnegie Hall or somewhere.
After some years, during which he bacame
a kind of legend, he disappeared.
Nobody ever knew if he had died, or moved,
Or retired. But hundreds of souls downtown
Had been touched by the Stairwell Crooner,
Many never ducked into a vestibule
To walk a few flights in leiu of a slow elevator,
Without remembering him,
And hearing his liquid voice
Again in their minds.
Taken by a sudden inspiration,
I emailed my dispatcher
On the little communication gizmos
We got recently,
The single word "Brumsky!"
An obscure reference to an inside joke
I'd shared with a friend in high school.
Then I thought, "Gee, you're tying up
The dispatcher's time with the word 'Brumsky'?",
And decided almost immediately to send another e-mail:
"Sorry. Too much coffee."
In a minute I got a return e-mail:
"THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH COFFEE!"
(They say Meher Baba's mandali** are very particular about
not ever letting Baba's Picture touch the floor).
There were two Baba-lovers.
One of them was very scrupulous
about the Master's Pictures.
Had them framed, always
perfectly. Never let one
touch the floor.
However, he murdered
several people while committing
The other lived an exemplary life
of love. Toward the end of his life,
however, one of Baba's Pictures in his
house happened to fall on the floor.
Tomorrow is another day.
*A mast is a God-intoxicated soul. According to Meher Baba,
masts live only in the East, or at least that was true when He
was on earth. Masts pay no heed at all to social conventions
and so might be seen as mad by the untrained eye. See The
Wayfarers by William Donkin.
**mandali: The word Avatar Meher Baba used for close
disciples in His inner circles.