A plastic bottle-cap salesman just home from the Orient was telling an odd tale in Manhattan last week. He had been having an expense-account special (bird's-nest soup, aromatic chicken) at Mang Wing-tei's in Hong Kong, when in came "this big, storklike American wearing a black and blue mandarin's costume. He said he was celebrating the Year of the Rat. Irving Hoffman was his name."

The awestruck salesman had seen one of the world's fastest moving landmarks, a man who seems to have no permanent address but is often called "The Human Mailbox," an...

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