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Perspective

Man of Letters

What I learned about America, and myself, working as a mail carrier.
A letter carrier in Atlanta makes a delivery.
A letter carrier in Atlanta makes a delivery. David Goldman/AP

My fourth day delivering mail for the U.S. Postal Service, it snowed-one of those heavy, wet, spring-in-Colorado snows that knocks down tree branches and crushes newly-bloomed tulips. I was training with a veteran letter carrier on a walk-out route, the type where the carrier pushes a blue buggy full of mail and small packages. It’s a lot harder, I discovered, to push that thing through slush.

I schlepped my disheveled, wet self into downtown businesses where concerned secretaries took pity on me as I handed them their soaked mail.