Old man Barley was at it again. He made his way across his front lawn, if you could call the weed strewn patch a lawn. He had the hammer and the axe and his tools all ready. You see, when going to the town using a shortcut I had to pass Barley’s house.
A small dirt road weaved through the cornfields and several other farms. You get out right at the heart of the town, instead of using the main road going around all the fields and McCarrick farm. Problem was, Jared Wayne also used the shortcut. His corn field he bought off some old couple was way out at the outskirts of the county. So every time Wayne loaded his big tractor up and made it through the small road, through the corn and the wheat, he’d pass Barley’s house.
The road tightened up right around there, and to avoid the rocks to his left, Wayne had to steer the tractor to his right. The wide machine always catches Barley’s mail box and flips it over. Just a short while after, like Swiss clockwork, old man Barley comes out.
I was walking to that day, with my car in the shop. Passing by the house I said hello to the old man. He didn’t really acknowledge my presence. Barley was too busy lifting his mailbox up and putting his weight on it, anchoring it to the ground.
"Why don’t you put it deeper in the ground? That way it wouldn’t so easily tip over," I asked him.
"No good," He simply said and started banging on the old metal thing with the dull side of his axe. He pushed it into the ground a bit, took a few steps back and analyzed it from all angles, "It’s still a bit crooked."
"Well, you could move it a few meters, or even inches to the right. That way Wayne wouldn’t tip it over every time."
Barley looked at me like I was crazy, “But, this is where the mailbox is. Where it’s always been. No point in moving it,” He nodded to himself and started collecting his tools.
"Why do it though? Every time he passes he knocks the thing over, and you just put it over again. It’s a pointless task, Barley," I told him.
"It’s just the way it is, son. The roles are clear. He puts it down, I put it back up. Gotta happen," Barley said. "It’s one thing you can count on in this world. Been that way for years now."
"I still think it’s pointless," I shrugged.
"Nothing is ever pointless. We all need structure," He told me and turned around. Barley was already on his porch before he turned around, "One thing that’s always the same, son. To be honest I have no idea what I’d do if Jared didn’t tip my mailbox over one day. Guess I’d think the whole world’s gone to hell."