Welcome to Santa Cruz County’s Bicycle Courier Blog

I thought it would be great to have a place where Bike Couriers and Bike Riders could meet and talk, share stories, trade advice, and build an online community. I look forward to reading and writing our Courier stories, news, and comments.

Rick Graves

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Real Oldest Profession-Messenger!

Chasque-The Unstoppable Messenger

Long before there was money to pay for sex and goats to herd, somebody had to deliver the news to the cave next door. Whether it was good news-"The Mastadons are over the next hill!"-or something that might anger the recipient-"Your wife lives in Ork's cave now."-someone had to be trusted to securely transmit the message, and be neutral to the consequences of the message getting across.
Over the ages, the fates of whole civilizations have hinged on this sacred trust. From the tides of war carried to Athens to Bill Clinton's secret love letters to Monica Lewinski, the whole reason for the messengers existence was based upon his or her loyalty to the secure transmittal of the message.
This is why the professional courier must practice neutrality. I'm not saying that what Clinton did was right or that Athens shouldn't have been burned down by the Spartans, it's just that there are two sides to every story and it's not my place to say.
If every messenger dithered about the whether it is morally correct to get the message across, nothing would ever get done. Our job is to get everyone informed and then let the judges and lawyers sort it out.
This is why I believe a courier service wedded to a political philosophy is doomed to failure and a danger to the trust placed in our profession.
In Santa Cruz a slogan-happy ideology -"One Less Car"-is being attached to the messenger image. This has created a class division between those of us doing it to make a living and because we love the job, and those who are doing it to save the world-"one bike at a time" while gaining social status in our liberal community.
While this may help people feel good about themselves, it ads an unwanted connotation to bicycle delivery and undermines the only true value we can sell to the market-our dedication to the secure transmittal of the message while remaining neutral to the parties and the consequences of delivery.
You might say "if you want neutrality why not use a machine?"-because the truly important message must be trusted to a human vehicle. A machine will not run over water to get your message across. A machine will not find creative ways to get around obstacles in it's path. It will short circuit.
We are professionals and members of an ancient and noble trade-I have gotten messages through gale force winds, blizzards, floods, fires and armed guards, and I am proud to have done so.
I'm not too worried about our long term survival however. Long after all the "real jobs" have gone away and we're back to herding goats, someone will still have to deliver the news.

Clutch Couriers Forever!

-Rick Graves

1 comment:

Yokota Fritz said...

Mmm, food for thought.