I'm invited to join an exclusive club.
And so it happened that in September, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, having unwound the arduous day’s spring to where tension was a mere passing stance, I received a call to join MUD, a secret, exclusive club which I would later find out stands for, “Misplaced Urban Deliveries.”
It was George who called. I knew George casually, since he lived three houses down but only did the vis-a-vis once a year, if that, mostly at a neighborhood cookout. Yet George was well-respected and had a high local political office, and therefore my jaw dropped and my eyeballs rotated resolutely to gaze upon my retina when I received that invite. He informed me that not everyone got into MUD; indeed, few were even asked. Later, I also learned that the “Misplaced Urban Deliveries,” was applicable to UPS and Fed Ex, as well as others (florists, for example) but for the most part, MUD’s concentration of applicability was that of the United States Post Office.
“Hello, Richard, “ George spoke politely and evenly. “This is George speaking. You are now eligible for MUD.”
“O, hello,” I said. “George? George, as in...?” I did not immediately recognize the voice.
“George Stanton,” he answered.
“O, I’m sorry,” I said slanting, “Susan’s husband, right...didn’t recognize your voice. How’s it going?
“I am fine.” he stated succinctly.
O, you mentioned MUD? What is that?”
“It’s a secret, exclusive club,” George whispered slowly.
I found myself leaning forward, holding my breath, sending a signal to the little man sitting on the aorta to hold up a caution sign.
And so he went on in poised explanation and I, torn between honored intrigue and courtesy-call fatigue, consumed the words like so many hickory-smoked potato chips in full concession of hunger’s marauding gallop.
“But why...” I began, yet was cut off at the why by a, “well,” that was spread out as if on an ironing board to be made wrinkle free.
“I am aware of your incident with the letter carrier the other day,” George continued.
“O, you heard about that, did you?”
“Yes,” George went on. “As soon as I did, I knew you would be right for MUD.”
“Well, I’m honored, I suppose, but what would be the point? I mean, what benefit would it be to me?”
“O there are a plethora of benefits, and the exclusiveness of this club makes it an honor; plus, you would be helping the cause of the poor, beleaguered letter carrier. That is part of our aim at MUD.”
“I see,” I said pensively, letting those two words hang as if they were waiting to be incised with the claws of further explanation. George may have sensed my implied need, but gave me, instead, the opportunity to expound about my recent incident with the carrier.
“I heard what happened,” George began, “but I would like to hear it from you.”
I took a deep breath and rubbed the back of my neck.
“O all right,” I conceded. “Well, I received my neighbor’s mail again--it was the third time in the last three weeks. Annoying to be sure. So, I saw the carrier across the street and went out and flagged him down. I told him I got the wrong mail, yadda, yadda, and just then, my neighbor, Sandy came out of her house. So I yelled to her, saying that I had gotten her mail, again by mistake. So the carrier and I walked across toward Sandy and as we came up the drive, I said, very business-like, that it was the second time this had happened in the last two weeks. (It was the third actually--I got that wrong). Anyway, it was at this point that the carrier decided to pick a fight, asking me if I was trying to embarrass him. I assured him I was not, but I’ll admit I got a bit irritated. Then I said assertively, although civilly, that I was just stating a fact. So, after he walked back across the street, I told Sandy, with a pique of emotion, that if he was embarrassed, then that was, Tough! He must have heard me because he then yelled, at the top of his lungs, that he had made a mistake--I think that people eight to ten houses in the vicinity, if not more, could have heard him. I then yelled back something to the effect that I was glad he acknowledged it. So there you have it--a screaming mailman.”
“O you are perfect for MUD!” George gushed. “I beseech you to join!”
“Well, are there any other members from the neighborhood? How many members do you have?”
“I can’t answer those questions,” George said, returning again to a James Bond, Mission Impossible-like oratory. “I can only tell you, now, that part of our goal is to help understand the carrier, to get into the mind of the mailman, to understand his outré ways, his shoulder chips, his penchant for self-embarrassment. Like Kepler, who wanted to know the mind of God, we, likewise, wish to know the mind of the mailman, and you, Richard, you would be the ideal candidate for Club MUD.”
“And you think I could benefit this club?”
“Yes, I do,” George buttered, as if flattery were minutes meaningful to Nokia.
“You are a writer, are you not?” George continued.
“Uh, yes, this is true,” I answered.
“The club could use a few slogans,” George said.
“How about, The postman always screams twice?” I quipped.
“Well, that’s a start,” George laughingly responded.
“But I’ve heard of you, Richard,” George went on. “You can do better than that. We can, however, put that one on the back door.”
And so it was that I unleashed my adventurous spirit, and took a walk on the wild side, more or less. I joined Club Mud, and was glad I did.