So, the other night, my friend Dr. Mo called to tell me about his close encounter with the tea party people, or 912 Patriots, or whatever those people who messed up traffic on Market Street last Saturday call themselves.

Dr. Mo's real name is David Moyar, but if I were to identify him as that, at least half the people who know him wouldn't know who I was talking about. In the interest of full disclosure, Mo is an old friend, by which I mean he's old and a friend. (He has also taken money from me in poker games, but then again, that doesn't take a lot of effort.)

Mo works for the U.S. Postal Service; he's a mailman, or letter carrier, or whatever they call the people who drive around delivering and picking up mail. It's not the easiest job in the world. He's had to fight off dogs and has encountered people who were strange to the degree that he didn't feel safe turning his back on them. He's been doing it for 61/2 years, working six days a week, 10 hours a day.

Last Saturday, Mo was making his appointed rounds, which on that day took him downtown to collect the mail from the big blue box at 21 E. Market St. When he got there, he found the first block of East Market Street was closed, so he parked on George Street and, carrying a plastic postal service bin, started to walk to the mailbox.

There was a crowd listening to a speaker on the steps of the old courthouse. Mo didn't pay much attention because it had nothing to do with him. He had mail to collect and was on a tight schedule.

He wound his way through the crowd to the mailbox, saying "excuse me" and "I'm just trying to do my job" as he tried to get through the mass of people. He noticed that a lot of people would see him and immediately look away. Others did not acknowledge his presence and refused to move out of his way.

As he tried to get to the mailbox, people stood in his way. He told the crowd, "I've got a job to do here." People still didn't move. One woman screeched at him -- screeched was Mo's word -- "Nobody's stopping you."

Mo replied, "Oh yes you are."

A man blocking Mo's access to the mailbox shouted at him, "You don't have a job. You work for the government."

Let's pause for a moment to examine that statement. OK, done? Nope, I don't get it either.

At this point, Mo was getting kind of frustrated and asked the guy, "What is your problem?"

See, all due respect, but that's the wrong question. A lot of people have been asking that question, and the answer never makes much sense. These people seem very angry about something.

The guy answered, "I don't have a problem. You're the problem. The government."

A group of people in the area picked up on that and, pointing at Mo, started chanting, "You're the problem. The government."

I advised Mo that perhaps he should have told them, "I'm not the government; I'm the postal service." Or, he could have said, "Be nice. We're the people who deliver your Social Security checks."

He did neither. Instead, he made his way to the mailbox and began collecting the mail.

One letter blew out of the box and onto the sidewalk. When Mo went to pick it up, a man standing by the mailbox stood on the letter, ignoring Mo's request to move his foot so he could get the letter. Mo finally was able to wrench the letter away.

As he started back to his truck, people in the crowd tried to get in his way. One person did say, "Have a nice day" as he walked away.

It wasn't until Sunday, reading the paper, that he learned that this was a gathering of the 912 Patriots, a group founded by a wealthy deranged person, holding a tea party.

The story raises a number of questions, mostly along the lines of "The postal service? Are they serious?"

Do the 912 Patriots have something against the postal service? Do they believe that mail service is some kind of communist plot to indoctrinate the populace in the nuances of socialism as evidenced by Coupon Clipper magazine? (Socialists are all for two-for-the-price-of-one dinner specials at local restaurants.) Do they believe that the postal service is part of a government conspiracy to steal our liberty by delivering the gas bill every month?

The postal service is the second-oldest government agency. The first postmaster was Ben Franklin, one of the founding fathers these people are continuously bleating about. (Perhaps they don't like Franklin. Sure, Jefferson, Jackson, Madison and Adams were more important, but Franklin seems like the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with, and many of these tea party people liked the last president people said that about.)

I called Gen Jackson, one of the poobahs of the York 912 Patriots, to ask about this, but as of this writing, she hadn't called back.

That somehow, a uniformed agent of the postal service would be viewed as "the problem" and a person who does not have a job does make a statement. What the statement is, I don't know.

All I know is the people who believe the postal service is part of the problem should refuse mail service because, by accepting it, aren't they acquiescing to an evil government that strives to enslave them by -- I don't know -- delivering flyers for Ace Hardware to their homes.

Let's see how long that lasts.