Jonathan Richie BW.tif

The Postal Service has been in the news a lot. I voted for the first time by mail in April.

In an alternative universe, I could’ve been collecting the absentee ballots instead of just putting mine in the mailbox and raising the flag.

It was my seventh-grade social studies class. Our teacher would pick on me - we’ll call him Mr. Bob for legal purposes.

He would ask me questions about the homework (and then pick on me when I was wrong) and call on me to do the reading in class (even though I didn’t stutter, I was not the confident man you all have grown to love). It was so constant that kids in the class knew it was coming.

They knew, and they’d wait and delight in the transaction. A question would be posed to the class about pueblo society from the homework and the eyes in the class would shift to me while I was staring at the sheet trying to figure out what I wrote.

The teacher, “Jon, what did you write?”

I mumbled something.

“No. Read the chapter carefully class, or you’ll end up like this,” the teacher would say as he gestured toward the fat kid trying not to blow up at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

One day I got him good.

He told us to close our eyes for like two minutes and think about our future and college. Then when we opened our eyes, we were supposed to write it down about marriage, kids, etc.

“After that, we’ll discuss it,” Mr. Bob said.

“You better get ready, Jon,” my buddy said.

About 30 seconds into it the idea came to me.

Be as flippant as possible and ruin the teacher’s exercise by saying I want to be a postal worker.

I opened my eyes and wrote down a few bullet points; postal worker, no need for school, time will tell on kids and marriage.

“So, let’s start. Jon, what’d you write down?”

“I’m gonna be a mailman. Deliver the mail to the people who need it.”

“What about college?”

“Don’t need it. Gonna work for the government, do my time and rack up 25 years and retire.”

“So, you’re not going to college?”

“That’s the plan. I might get a dog at some point.”

Silence swept across the classroom.

Here is an alpha teacher that wants to continue to show dominance over this pudgy 13-year-old.

For the first time, he was silent.

Not only did I purposely not talk about college like we were supposed to do, but I also made a fool of him with a quip about dogs. It was tense.

I got the last word, but Mr. Bob continued to pick on me. Well, until parent teacher-conferences. But that’s a story for another day.

I was able to vote by mail in April, August and will once again in November. It’s my right as a citizen of this country and it’s our constitutional right to be able to exercise this right. It would be a shame if politicians got in the way of this most American and democratic practice.