Before mailman Steve shows up around ten, my neighborhood is a quiet, relaxing hamlet near the beach. Birds are chirping, wind is rustling through palm trees, and ocean waves are crashing on the sands several blocks away. All of that changes the moment Steve passes through the private, guarded gate of the community in a cloud of exhaust fumes and then squeaks to a halt at the first set of mailboxes. His arrival is the highlight of my day. Unfortunately, I have to share the mailman with all of the other unimportant men in the neighborhood, who, like me, rush out of the house to cajole Steve into giving them their mail first. You might think this sounds ridiculous, but believe me, it’s not easy to get someone as popular as Steve to select you as his favorite unimportant person in the neighborhood. To reach the top of Steve’s list requires skills they don’t teach in MBA programs, Corporate Charm School, Six Sigma Training, or any other past training program that made me a successful business man. Just for clarification, it’s not what’s in the mail that motivates me to compete like this, it’s strictly the competition. In other words, in my unimportant life, whomever gets Steve to give him the mail first becomes the most important-unimportant man of the day. So, are you starting to understand why Steve is the most important man in my life, and why I have given Steve generous gifts for New Years, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day (this one makes me feel kind of weird, but since he always favors me on that day, I continue to do it), Easter, Father’s Day, his birthday, his wedding anniversary, Veteran’s Day (despite the fact he never served), Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Mailman’s Day (a holiday I arbitrarily made up)? Might I add that there isn’t a week that goes by where I haven’t also provided him with a gourmet lunch, a dozen donuts, a pizza, my wife’s famous Italian beef sandwich, a cake, a bag of cookies, a dozen bagels with two tubs of his favorite cream cheese, a double white chocolate macchiato from Starbucks, or whatever else I discovered that he craves. To my delight, all of my efforts have not gone unnoticed by Steve or my fellow unimportant colleagues in the neighborhood. Over time, I have become a force to be reckoned with. In fact, everything has been great until today, when a new mailman showed up and informed me that Steve suffered a serious heart attack over the weekend, after which he refused to give me my mail early.