There are plenty of stories, both real and imaginary, about animals acting strangely during particular times of the year or certain periods of their lives. These aberrant behaviors vary from species to species.

Sea creatures are naturally affected by the tides and land animals by the change in seasons.

The homo sapiens is a political animal that feels a need to collect in like-minded groups to congratulate one another for past deeds and concoct plans and rules for themselves and others, including those who are not like-minded. The subgroup “Americana” do so every quadrennial. Throughout this period, they become even more mentally unstable than usual, liable to attack persons and institutions which, during normal times, they may respect and even admire.

My impetus for this observation was not only the constant reminders from the media and the predictably inane speeches from the candidates, but also the recent assault on, of all things, the post office, one of the best ideas Ben Franklin ever came up with – and he came up with lots of good ideas. (Excluding the one about flying a kite in a lightning storm.)

Although it’s been many decades ago, I was once an employee of the United States Postal Service and speak from experience when I testify that my fellow workers were devoted, hard-working folks who took their “Postman’s Oath” seriously (Something about “... rain and sleet nor dark of night” and “appointed rounds.” I never could remember it.) Unfortunately, I was probably the U.S.P.S. worst employee. I was once called into the postmaster’s office and reprimanded for ignoring a patron’s red “pick up” flag. My excuse was that his cottage was down a long channel with no outlet, and, because channels had to be navigated at “idle” speed, it would take five minutes or more just to check to see if the flag was up. If they had mail, I delivered it; if not, I went on.

I should explain. My mail route was on Lake James, up in the northeast corner of Indiana. I was told that it was the only “direct to customer” water route in the country. Six days a week, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, I drove into the post office, sorted my mail (by hand in those days), took it to the lake and tossed it into my boat. I deposited these letters, magazines, etc. into the patrons’ mailboxes, which were at the end of their piers. I tried to complete my route before the skiers and party boaters got on the lake.

Often, mail carriers deliver items addressed to “postal patron,” which means everyone on their route. One day the “postal patron” mail included thousands of small boxes, maybe 2x4 inches, each containing a tiny doll, dressed in traditional Native-American garb, and a solicitation for money to support the Lakota tribe. I put my allotted number into a cardboard box and secured it onto the bow cover. Shortly after shoving off, my boat was hit by a wave, sending the box over the side and spilling its contents. I shut down immediately. There I sat, motionless and surrounded by hundreds of miniature papooses bobbing on the lake’s surface. I picked up and delivered what I could, but for weeks, cottage owners around Lake James were surprised to find an unusual flotsam washing onto their beaches – tiny, water-logged Lakota tots.

Despite the mishaps, the hazard of drinking weekend boaters, the occasional complaint from cottage owners and the resultant reprimands from the postmaster, I liked my job as a mail carrier.

The United States Postal Service was, and I suspect still is, a great institution. Let’s not mess it up with politics.

Chuck Avery is a retired high school teacher who grew up in Connersville’s Bucktown neighborhood.