I had been working as a landscape laborer, digging ditches, laying sod, and all sorts of physical labor. But as school started in the fall, the cold set in, and there was very little of that type of work to be had. I checked the employment board at the university twice each day trying to be the first one in line for any new job that might open.
I did odd jobs of all kinds, but continued to look for more constant work. Then, finally, I saw a posting for someone to drive a mail truck around campus. I hurried and filled out the application, and soon had the job.
Each afternoon at 1:00, after I finished my classes, I would bike over to the campus mail center. Afternoon classes were still in full swing, and it was often a slow drive to the buildings in the center of campus since I had to make my way down busy sidewalks.
I drove the last mail run of the day, and I collected and dropped off mail at every building’s mail room. Seldom did I have to sort the mail into the separate mail boxes, as that was someone else’s job. But once in a while, when we were shorthanded, I would receive a sorting assignment in a few of the buildings.
One day, a few of our mail sorters had the flu, and everyone needed to do extra work. In the center of campus the three biggest and busiest buildings were laid out in a triangle, and it was in them that I was assigned to sort the mail after I dropped it off. I decided, for efficiency, to haul the bins of mail from the truck into each building, and then work my way back, sorting as I went.
I had just finished hauling the mail to the last of the three buildings when a vehicle’s horn started to blare. It was so loud I could hear it clear into the mail room in the center of the building, and its tone was grating and obnoxious. The horn blared the whole time I sorted, and I couldn’t believe its owner didn’t get it stopped. As I stepped from the building, the horn was so loud that I knew it had to be heard all over the campus. I quickly sorted the mail in the next two buildings with the horn blaring the whole time. I finally finished and headed back to my truck.
As I approached it, to my dismay, I found it surrounded by hundreds of people, and, worst of all, it had its horn stuck on. Curious students were leaning out the windows of all of the surrounding buildings. A half dozen campus security cars were there, and the officers were trying to control the crowd and deal with the situation. The police had set up temporary barricades around my truck to keep back those who were agitated and threatening harm to it. People were yelling and waving their arms, trying to be understood above the noise.
I worked my way through the crowd and reached the police barricade. The officer there saw the mail bins I carried and let me through. When the officer that was trying to break into my truck saw me, he moved aside, and I unlocked it. I popped the hood and quickly pulled a wire from the horn.
Suddenly, everything was quiet. I turned with a sheepish grin to face the crowd. The students, who were happy to miss class, were laughing, but the professors, whose classes the noise had disrupted, looked like they wanted my blood.
I saw one professor I knew. Trying to diffuse the situation, I joked to him, “I was wondering who it was who let his horn blare like that.”
Before he turned to go back to salvage what he could of his class, he glared at me and replied, “Well, I guess now we all know who the idiot is, don’t we?”