2015 May 3rd. Fifth Anniversary Event Speeches by Mailman Miek and Mailman Ted.
Young people of the bulb!
Five years ago today, we met above the sealed entrance to the Underground Library right across the water here, just off Embarcadero, for the first time since our society's inception in 1895. One hundred and twenty years! That is so many years ago it confuses; it even bedazzles. The first thing I said to you was "Isn't this backdrop great?" while motioning in a somewhat majestic manner across the water like this [FX: motions]. Was I, in some sense, encompassing all of us in the future -- that is, us right here right now? Perhaps; perhaps in the way that I am calling forth a "mind image" of all of us in the future standing at the Wave Organ on June 20 2020. Do you see it? It is only five years away. It's like you could reach out and grab it! Five years ago was only yesterday!
Also at that meeting Timothy referred to the sealed entryway as a "hard candy shell." Over the last five years, living here has gotten even harder ... what used to be a gooey, flexible mass like delicious saltwater taffy or a smooth chocolate spread has become brittle and nearly unyielding, like a cough drop with jujubes glued onto it. That's a ridiculous candy right there.
But it's all of you who have made the last five years so enjoyable. You were with us at Black Rock City and Andorra, in Paris, Dublin, and Dunmore. You helped us find Jimmy, sought out secret trucks and payphones, avoided getting blown to smithereens by teenagers with firecrackers, embiggened, traipsed, potlucked, investigated, stamped.
It has been you! We thank you for your kind letters and enthusiasm and willingness to go on this adventure with us. We thank you.
Thank you for coming out all this way to the Bulb. Did anyone bring the mail that was supposed to be delivered here today?
I had a sneak peak at Mailman Mike's speech, so I knew he'd talk about our past while hinting at our future. I'm going to talk to you about our future while hinting at our past, and there are two futures I wish to discuss. Then we'll enter the third future, the one that has cake.
The first future you may already be thinking about, if you were able to help infiltrate Breen's team on the Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt recently. If not, perhaps you've perused the Hexnook and seen what others saw. We have a sympathetic ear in the ENS and it's attached to Agent Condor. Hopefully she has some sympathetic ears attached to all of us. And it seems she's not alone in the ENS that wishes to see the bickering of the past between our two organizations to end up in the dead letter office in the future. I am told that there are those in the EPS that feel the same way. More and more these days I find myself in that camp as well. I ask that we all try to keep open hearts in the coming days as we see what develops.
The second future is something Mailman Mike mentioned: it's undeniable that it's harder to be here. Whether we mean here, the Bay Area; or here, together with one another at this time, unglued from our screens; or here, and not there. Of course there is a message of resistance. We've seen this message painted on the sides of businesses across these United States, on 1" buttons on jean jackets, on postcards and in snapshots and on bumper stickers: "Keep Austin Weird," "Keep Portland Weird," "Keep Asheville Weird," "Keep Your City Weird." It would seem that we are at war with the prevalent culture, that the forces of normality are marching upon us all, that we must fight to win the hearts of our cities. And if that were the case, as one of your mentors, it would be my duty to be honest with you as to how we would be doing in that struggle.
I would tell you we have lost.
Now, I'm not saying that we have lost to be a bringdown, you know, "Oh that Mailman Ted, he's such a grumpy guy, uuuuuuugh." I honestly do not mean for this to bum you out. I'm telling you this because first, there is no fight. Differing sides don't exist, things are not that clear cut. There is nothing to win, therefore there can be no winners. There is a need for space for the Other, certainly. But the hearts of people are not set in stone to be imploded by force of culture.
Secondly, look around you. There are hundreds of thousands, millions of people that live in the greater Bay Area, and how many of them are here today? But I tell you, that doesn't matter. I'm telling you that we have lost because if we won -- you know, if there was a struggle to be won, and we did -- we'd then be the new normal, the non-weird that must be fought to keep here weird. And I'll tell you what winners do: they sit on their laurels. They say, "Oh ho, look at what we've done, how marvelous of us, don't you think, yes I do." And then they write in the history books how wonderful they must be, simply because they say so.
The losers, however, either walk away, or they keep at it. Theoretically, if there were losers. So under that presupposition, I am telling you that we have lost so that you and I and we keep at it. I've been asked, and Ethel's been asked, and I'm sure Mailman Mike's been asked, "Hey, what would you think if I designed a stamp?" YES. And send it to us so we can help others see it. And we've been asked, "What if I wanted to put together a walkabout?" YES. And then invite us, because we all want to go! And we've been asked, "Can I come up with a stamp window?" YES. We don't know everywhere here. Mailman training never ends. Believe me, I've tried. I've tried and they send me out again and again and again and your feet hurt and then you end up on Mailbox Island for six days and those six days are all Sunday when there's no mail coming and no help for you because Mailbox Island is so utterly, utterly lonely and horrible and------sorry, I lost myself there.
The point is, the operative word is Keep. Keep the Bay Area Weird. Keep at it. Don't stop. Be mindful, and don't let the worry over making mistakes freeze you into inaction, don't fret over losing. There is no losing. There's only what we make. And the world is big. There's room for it all. And I hope the Elsewhere Philatelic Society gets to continue making things weird for you in the coming years. And I hope you'll do the same.