Carmine starts the New Year where he left the old one — in a fit of anger

I’m madder than me when I was watching Channel 7 and saw that Fed Ex guy throw a brand-new television over a six-foot fence over the fact that a Fed Ex delivery guy had the gall, the nerve, and the audacity to throw a brand-new television over a six-foot fence — instead of taking the time to deliver it properly.

Look, it’s no secret that I’m a retired mailman who has written my share of columns attacking my former employer. But now, no amount of words can describe how angry I’ve now become with Fed Ex, which is officially, by a very wide margin —wider than me, f’rinstance — the worst delivery service in the union.

You want to know why? Well I already told you why!

But after seeing that, I’ve gotta tell you again!

I ordered a cellphone as a 91st birthday present for my sister Sue on July 1. Now, I know what your thinking: “Carmine how the heck can you order a piece of high-tech equipment like that for a 91-year-old.” Well what was I going to do? I needed to do something because she kept getting tangled up in the cord on her kitchen telephone that was designed by Alexander Graham Bell!

I figured I had 10 days to get the darn thing before her big bash on July 11. Plenty of time, right? Wrong! Fed Ex completely screwed up the delivery, and it had nothing to do with the fact that the Fourth of July fell in the middle of the delivery period!

In fact, I had to go to Susie’s birthday with a picture of the phone and an IOU. Boy, was she angry. But once I told her it was being delivered by Fed Ex, she understood. Susie’s one sharp cookie.

My big fear was that Susie wouldn’t get the phone until her 100th birthday! But that didn’t happen, as the phone finally came, and Susie is playing Words with Friends with Alec Baldwin.

Speaking of 100-year-olds, on Dec. 18, Sharon, her mother, and yours truly attended John Sudsky’s surprise 100th birthday party. He asked his son Robert and daughter-in-law Cindy not to make a fuss, but marking a century on this planet demands a fuss. That’s what I think. So they didn’t tell him they were throwing a party, which is why they call it a surprise party. Anyway, we headed over to this place on the Isle of Staten called Ruby Falls Lounge, a swinging night club with settees lit by candlelight — the perfect place for a 100th birthday!

So we all gathered at this place with the lights out and waited for John to come in, when we would yell “Surprise!” Of course, this got me a little worried: I would hate for us to surprise him so much, he ends up in terminal dreamland. But John’s a tough cookie, and he handled it just fine.

And the party was wonderful. My mother-in-law hadn’t seen some family members who were there for two years, so that was great. But there was one big, big, problem: somebody forgot to order the birthday cake!

Now you all know that I only go to birthday parties for one reason, and it’s not so I can drop 50 bucks on a present. It’s to have some cake! It’s usually the first thing I look for when I get to the party. I’ll ride Tornado around the place, shake hands with some people, and, if it’s not out in the open, I’ll demand to see it.

So you could imagine how surprised I was when there wasn’t one at a party for a 100-year-old!

There was a last-minute scramble to get one of them ice cream cakes old Tom Carvel used to make like it was nobody’s business. That made me happy, because those cakes are my favorite. I used to love those old Carvel commercials with Fudgie the Whale, Cookie Puss, Cookie ’O Puss (for St. Patrick’s Day) and the Tie cake for Father’s day, even though I think he used the same mold for all of them. If Tom knew how to do anything, it was re-purpose a mold.

But I digress.

Problem was I had Access-A-Ride coming to pick up me, Tornado, my lovely wife Sharon, and her mom, at 7:15 — which was before the cake got there. So I never got to sink my teeth into that delicious cake with those chocolate crumbly things in the middle that, to this day, I have no idea what they are. But I don’t care, I eat it anyway. That’s part of my charm.

The worst part of the night was the horrible ride home. I’ll tell you this — you can’t beat the price of Access-A-Ride, and many times the drivers do a good job. F’rinstance, my first driver got me from my humble abode in Bensonhurst to the southern tip of New York State in just half an hour. But going home was a different story: it took my stupid driver two hours to do it — and there was no traffic! Jiminy Crickets! You know, you can practically see the Verrazano from everywhere on the Rock, and I kept telling him “Look, just head toward that bridge!” He just didn’t get it.

In fact, his stupidity matched that of the Fed Ex guy I mentioned earlier. And just like him, this guy had a tough time making a simple delivery. Well, at least he didn’t throw the Ol’ Screecher over the fence. But I’ll admit not many people could do that, on account of my physique.

Anyway I hope all of youse have a healthy, wealthy and wonderful 2012. And John, we’re already looking forward to celebrating your 101st! Hey, did you save me any cake!

Screech at you next year!

Carmine Santa Maria is actually a big teddy bear, but like all bears, he has sharp claws and even sharper teeth. Don't think he really exists? E-mail him at [email protected].