Sport 27: Spring 2001
There was an insurance man who thought the postman was his brother. Every Saturday when he saw the postman's red and black uniform his heart leapt. He often felt like hugging him at the gate, but didn't. Instead, he said things like: ‘Just got here you slack bastard?’
The insurance man noticed that his brother didn't feel like talking. Maybe he was depressed, he thought. After all, the world could be a lonely place.
He was determined to cheer up his brother, so next week he broke wind by the letterbox and said, ‘I've been saving that for you.’
But it didn't seem to work.
Next week was Christmas and the postman had a lot of mail to carry.
‘Look, why don't you use my car to finish the run,’ said the insurance man.
But the postman refused.
‘Oh, suit yourself,’ said the insurance man mildly, but he was offended. Then, for a joke, he pulled on the mail bag to make it heavier. ‘Sure you don't want my car?’ he said.
His brother didn't.
The smile disappeared from the insurance man's face. ‘Suit yourself!’ he said loudly, and went inside.
Next week the insurance man was ready to forgive his brother, so he asked him what he'd got their mother for Christmas. When the postman hurried away without answering, the insurance man yelled ‘Be like that!’ then turned and ran inside.
The insurance man was waiting by the gate with two cold beers when a new postman came. ‘What happened?’ he asked, and his eyes filled with tears. ‘What happened to my bother?’
The man I knew as my father felt that women were forbidden. To him they were like diamonds behind glass, or coffins. It broke my heart to see him drink a cask of wine before he could broach a subject such as the weather with the Indian matriarch in the dairy. It broke my heart when on his deathbed he disowned me, though I'd often suspected being the object of a ludicrous paternity suit.