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Floyd Martin retires after nearly 35 years as a mailman tomorrow (twitter.com)
371 points by danso 25 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 141 comments

I worked as a postman for a bit. I'd wake up at 0430, make a short commute, then sort letters into street/house number order for something like 3 hours. After the first few days this became mindnumbingly dull. It was obvious 90% of what I was about to deliver would go straight in the bin so all this drudgery wad largely pointless. For a while I worked in a pretty rough area (by UK standards, admittedly nowhere in the UK is really that dangerous compared to much of the world), and on several occasions I was harassed by members of the public. Though later I worked in a much nicer area and people were nice to me.

I suspect the main thing about the story isn't how great it is to be a mailman, but how great it is to be good at people. I work from home and live in quite a nice community, but I only know a handful of people. This is basically because unless I have a common interest with someone I don't really have anything to say for myself. Clearly not something that afflicts Floyd!

To help foster more local connections, I've started inviting everyone I know (plus everyone they know) to Saturday morning kickball. It has been a great way to bring different groups of people together and create/strengthen bonds in our community. Plus, it starts the day with being outdoors which I think is good for the soul.

That's awesome. I played kickball in an adult league for a bit after college (on the DC mall no less) and it was great. I'd probably drink less nowadays...

I might start this up too.

Any chance you're in the Seattle area? I've been looking for a local kickball game!

Absolutely that's the lesson here. Spread love wherever you go, to everybody, anytime.

>Spread love wherever you go, to everybody, anytime.

Sometimes that really fucking hard. And I know I'm part of the problem. But if that's not what we're all working for, we might as well just give up now.

Some of this is tied up in wishful thinking I’m sure, but focus on the macro and not the micro. I don’t think any of us can be the best version of ourselves without learning from the worst versions of ourselves. I’m sure that mailman had bad encounters; if not player 1 alert.

"I don't really have anything to say for myself"


It's amazing how many times people will stop to say hello when a small child says hello to them. We got invited into someone's garden last weekend to feed their chickens.

Admittedly we live in a more rural area. Might not work so well on the mean streets of London.

There's no doubt lots of people are closely connected to their local community through kids friends, their kids schools, their kids sports teams, etc. But having kids only as a means to talk to people would be a bit drastic!

Kids are definitely the ultimate cure for loneliness. A couple years in and you're likely to beg for some loneliness ;)

At least once a day

Well I did also have kids so I wouldn't look so dodgy hanging around by the play equipment in the park, so it wasn't just as a means to speak to people ;)

Having a two year old, no one looks at me weird when I play with the duplo blocks at the local LEGO store.

Ha! I went to the Lego store once pre child and got excited about the advent calendars. The man next to me asked how old my child was, I had to admit that I didn't have one.

Dog’s are also great for this, at least in the Bay Area. When I had a pup people were striking up conversations all the time.

The price of sending mail must go up. It’s insane how much we subsidize junk being mailed around.

In the US, at least, the post office is entirely self funded. The junk mail actually subsidizes the “legitimate” mail.

Wow, their financial statements are fascinating. I encourage anyone with an interest to take a look for themselves. Your statement is correct in that they do not directly receive cash from the government. However, they do borrow from the FFB at an insanely low rate of 1.785%, which one could consider a subsidy. It’s very interesting to note also that they have a legal maximum debt load of $15B which they are currently at. Their MD&A states that liquidity could soon become a huge issue. Management pretty much sums up the situation with this statement “legal restrictions on pricing, service diversification and operations restrict our ability to cover our costs to provide secure, reliable and affordable postal services to the nation.”

Sounds like the days of self-funding through junk mail might be over?

Junk mail is bulk sorted, at least in the states, so ya, it’s probably going in the bin, but sorting it shouldn’t be an issue.


My 2nd ever comment on hacker news, and already someone has managed to segue from my innoncuous comment into an attack on feminism. And further more, they've done so by using a video of someone with schizophrenia, or some other serious psychological problem.

People can downvote this all they like, I'm gone.

>My 2nd ever comment on hacker news, and already someone has managed to segue from my innoncuous comment into an attack on feminism.

No. They were trying to empathize with your previous point that working and dealing with the public is an exceedingly difficult thing to do.

They could have picked a better video to do so, but they picked one that was a viral meme that was everywhere a few years ago. It went viral because of the terrible behavior of the person towards the mail carrier -- feminism is only mentioned because whoever reposted the video on YouTube for the umpteenth time decided to title the video with regards to the dialog that the person is spouting towards the mail carrier -- dialog which has to do with gender, stalking, etc.

I'm not qualified to diagnose the person in the video as a schizophrenic, so I didn't. I'm not calling her a feminist, because she didn't call herself that. Some guy who posted a YouTube video inserted that narrative about feminism, and you inserted the narrative about schizophrenia.

This could have been a video of a mail carrier receiving any kind of abuse from the public and the parents post who you replied to would have had the same message as they intended with this one -- mail carriers receive a lot of abuse from the public.

With all that said : I hope you stick around. There is good discourse here.

Oh, please stick around! You may note that the complaining comment (not your comment, but the one you're referring to) was not only downvoted but flagged and "dead" (hidden unless you enable "showdead" in your account settings).

I really appreciated your comments and I think a lot of other people did too.

Like the other poster I enjoyed your comment. For what it's worth, the offending comment has been flag killed by the community.

FWIW I enjoyed your 2nd ever comment on HN. I do find it interesting how quickly polarizing topics will be brought up online.

No ones downvoting you.

Stay. We definitely like at least 2/3rds of all your comments :-)

Unlike other commentators, this doesn’t make me feel bad about my cubicle job working on abstract problems.

It does make me sad about living in a sterile mega city with no form of community with my neighbors. It makes me miss the days I used to live in a much smaller town, in my home land, where everyone knew each other, and we had shared festivals, feasts and fasts together.

Thanks for sharing the twitter thread.

This story takes place in Atlanta. The metro area has something like 6 million people in it. Not a 'mega city' but also not a small town.

Perhaps it's not the city that is causing the lack of community with neighbors?

It's not exactly fair to throw out the population like that with no context - Atlanta is similar to LA in that it is very spread out, a bunch of "suburbs in search of a city." Friendly communities like this are rare in apartment buildings, as far as I've seen. I would love to know why or if there are any notable counterexamples - I would consider moving there!

I live in a dense part of Chicago and have a community like the one in the story. That's been true across housing types, from high rise, to mid rise to townhouse.

It's not the suburbs that make community. It's engaging with your community and its institutions. In this story, the mail carrier. But you can engage with all manner of other institutions and start to be more apart of where you live.

Zurich, Switzerland. There's only one family in my building I'm not really chatting with somewhat regularly. Everyone says I'll get to know them once the weather is right for hanging out in the common grassy area anyways. And that's despite the Swiss having an opinion for being like Germans, but without the openness and legendary sense of humour ;)

> And that's despite the Swiss having an opinion for being like Germans, but without the openness and legendary sense of humour ;)

Friendly help from a native English-speaker: I think you meant "reputation" rather than "opinion." :)


I disagree, having lived in large cities, everything always feels so impermanent and impersonal. Connections that should be easy to make with neighbors down the hall can feel more difficult than connections with neighbors down a driveway. I'm not sure what causes this phenomenon, but many people report feeling this way.

No sources, but I've seen this notion circulate in articles and other forums.

I wonder if it is because YOU are at an impermanent phase in your life. I live in Los Angeles, and would have said the same thing five years ago. However, in the last five years I have gotten married, had two kids, and bought a house.

I feel much more connected to my location now. I have met my neighbors more than I ever did before buying a house, and have met many who have lived in the neighborhood for multiple generations.

I feel like it takes making yourself more permanent before connections with neighbors become real.

I've felt some of this since I got married and had kids, but I've chalked it up more to the increased social connections than any kind of 'permanence'. I know my neighbors a lot better because my kids know their kids, or I see them at the school, etc. I owned a house for 10 years before getting married and didn't really have any neighborhood connections, so I don't think that just buying a house is enough.

Also, it helps in a lot of unexpected places, like at work. Now I have a lot more in common with managers and above than when I was a single guy. I'm very convinced that part of my recent jump in career progression has been this additional connection. Suddenly everyone sees me as management material, for better or worse.

You bought a house. That implies you moved to a suburban area. Having owned a house in a suburban area in a transitory time of my life, and lived in a city for what I thought was settled down - no, there's no question, it was the suburban lifestyle that allowed meaningful connections.

What do you mean by permanent? Having bought a house and married? Or creating a static environment for a child to grow up?

This happens in Marietta which is a sizeable city but not Atlanta. It's outside of Atlanta like how Irvine is outside of LA.

My family lives in Acworth an hour a way and there are chickens wandering people's yards. GA is a bit different in that regard.

As a former Atlantan (I lived in EAV or near it for 12 years) now living on the west coast I think the trend follows here as well: twenty minutes outside of Portland and you're in the "sticks." That said, the folks who live in the further flung suburbs, exurbs, and "sticks" outside Portland tend to be a good bit nicer than their Atlanta area counterparts in my experience

My upstairs neighbors in the mid rise apartment I lived in raised chickens on their porch, was fairly normal to have one wander down to my deck. I don't have a point other than to point out these days chickens are not a signal of the sticks.

FWIW, I live in east midtown and someone here is keeping chickens because I hear a rooster most mornings.

Stories like this make you question whether it's worth being paid all this money to spend your life staring at a screen in a climate-controlled cube solving abstract problems that provide approximately zero benefit to your family, friends, and neighbors.

It's not about the job.

This guy, probably, isn't valued because he delivers packages.

My guess is that he's valued because of his ability to connect with people, and his infectious happiness.

This. I was just reading some messages on the gofundme for his vacation (mentioned in thread) and one of the families on his route said that he remembers every childs names, even after they have left the house, which to me is something you would only expect of a good friend.

It seems like he is just a genuinely good guy who cares about these people and as you said, has the ability to connect with them on a level that most people don't.

Or maybe he didn’t have to go thru daily stand-ups and have to say how many letters will be delivered today.

Just kidding, kudos for him and some people are indeed gifted to make friends and connections intuitively.

On the other hand, there are jobs that make connecting to other people harder if not impossible. I used to work for Microsoft during the poignant stack rank time and it was utterly hard to build trust with anyone. I never played that game but competition was part of the culture and it ruined genuine relationships at any level.

Absolutely. I am all for making the best of things, but the conditions have to support it as well. Today more and more things are temporary, from doctors and workplace to where you live. Of course it is hard to make those connections. Especially since it also gets even harder as less people have them. That is why it always annoyed me when people say things like "just move", "just quit" or "it isn't a right to ...".

If there were a perfect job, we'd all be doing it?

Even though I cancel and unsubscribe from everything I can, 95% of what I receive in the mail is paper spam. If I didn't still receive paper paychecks, it'd be even higher.

I recognize there's value in having a postal system, but in practice almost everything I receive goes straight in the shredder. It's been taken over by spammers. It's another system that provides real value to a lot of people, but seems to only be financially sustainable because of advertising.

Where's the Plan for this Spam?

(US resident). I haven't gotten one piece of junk mail in nearly 15 years (except for a few generics addressed to "resident", but even they are uncommon). Before that it was weekly shiny newspaper type ads and letter spam by the pound with a tiny bit of real mail.

It was an accident but here is how I did it.

I had a temporary job back in early 2000's so I got a short term lease in a different city and opened a PO box at post office. Then I unexpectedly got called back and was slated to return but didn't and neglected to close the PO box and forward mail. I was a road warrior for next 5 or 6 years and seldom at permanent address, so I didn't bother putting in address change back to permanent residence. Instead I got an online mail service (I don't know if was this, but something like this https://www.postscanmail.com/) that opened and scanned mail and I'd read it in browser, download scans, and have important stuff physically forwarded to wherever I was at the time.

Finally that all ended and I got a real address and stopped the online mail receiving. For whatever reason something in that process completely stopped the junk mail to this day and it's wonderful.

So is the solution going off-grid for several years, or using the scanning service?

IMHO regular mail is subsidizing all the junk mail. They offer bulk rates based on the assumption that delivery is already paid for.

It's actually the other way around. The junk mail is paying for your mailman to come by every day. The $.50 for a stamp doesn't cover the cost of delivering a letter.

Also people paying retail rate for packages help offset as well. I've been shipping a lot recently and it's crazy the price difference.

It’s common to say junk mail subsidizes normal mail. I don’t know if it’s true, but it makes sense.

And a large portion of those spam are malicious scams. Mail that say "confidential" , "open immediately" in red ink, fake credit cards, fake checks ect.

When I was a residence hall advisor in college, one of my roles was sorting the mail, which has been useful experience years later: basically, you can ignore anything sent as “PRESORTED STANDARD”: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-spot-junk-mail-with...

The importance of a piece of mail is inversely proportional to its claimed importance.

I received my first paper nigerian scam last month!

I used to think that way. Then my daughter was born.

As long as my job provides money (and thus food and shelter for her), I don't really care anymore :)


Agreed. Sometimes I feel like I am wasting my life solving business problems I don’t really care about and nobody close to me understands even remotely.

There was a local reporter who went undercover to do an expose on the temp-agency market and worked a few days on the factory line at a food supplier. Her verdict: It wasn't very fun.

Grass is always greener.

People also tend to want their jobs to provide meaning to their lives. That is a luxury. For most people, a job is something you do to enable the rest of your life.

I've worked in factories and greenhouses (they tie for first place in awfulness, in factories it was 12 hour shifts in full PPE dipping steel ladders into hot degreaser - in greenhouses it was 10-12 hour shifts in 50C+ heat).

Neither was fun but they are very different to a 9 hour stint programming, when I worked physical jobs I could go home, have a shower and still had the energy to go out socialising where now when I get in I just want to veg with a book as I'm mentally spent.

Some of it might be to do with age but I switched careers in my mid-20's and it was the same at the start of my programming career.

It doesn't get easier, you just get better.

"now when I get in I just want to veg with a book as I'm mentally spent."

That's me. I think it's age but a job where I am more active and/or outside would help for sure. When I worked as mechanical engineer I often had to go to the workshop which already was a nice break from the desk. There were also physical things to handle which is good for the soul. Now I am always at the desk or meeting rooms and everything is abstract.

You’re lucky, I pretty much have energy for books only in the weekend (unless it’s something really easy and interesting), on weekdays books are usually too taxing for my post-coding mental state.

> People also tend to want their jobs to provide meaning to their lives. That is a luxury. For most people, a job is something you do to enable the rest of your life.

This desire is a coping mechanism. Because the latter view, that the job is just to pay for your life, makes you discover that it also robs you out of all of it. Even the 9-5 job is way more than 50% of your wake time, after accounting for commute and energy drain.

Read Bukowski’s „Post Office”. In his account, working in the post office, or as a mailman in the field, was hell.

I'm not sure I would take Bukowski's take as normative on anything at all.

This is all very depressing.

I got a kid on the way too, I need to reinvent myself.

You need to separate your work from your purpose. Think of work as merely collecting resources to maintain life. Get a hobby or volunteer at a charity and find purpose there. I've been much happier with putting my "self" into designing and testing board games. I forget about the dumpster fire after I leave and focus my energy on something I enjoy creating.

I'll go ya one better and say maybe forget your purpose entirely. Not in a negative, nihilistic way, but in kind of a Zenny way. You think Floyd here thinks about his purpose? Well actually it seems like he has decided "my purpose is to care for these people on my route," so maybe that's a bad example for my point. Although it's worth noticing, HE decided that. Which proves, it's totally arbitrary. Meaning is wherever you ascribe it (and probably nowhere else).

Mainly the idea is not to let "purpose" be a logjam that stops you. Life will happen to you regardless. Lately I've been trying to free myself from the endless quest for (please use whiny voice, knit brow earnestly, hold upturned fists close in front of you, and wiggle them slightly while saying) meeeaning. It stymied me for a long time. But it has to be seen for the ego trip it is. It's a "get over yourself" moment. Rein in that fanciful and conceited ego that's always wondering what great and high purpose your magnificent and important soul was cut out for. All that pressure! Letting go of it is a bit of a death (ego death). But jeez what a relief. It frees you to do whatever you want, which ironically is the only way you might actually end up going on to do something worthwhile. (Worthwhile according to you.)

How is being anxious at discovering an objective value for oneself (“meaning”) egotistical? If anything, it is an external reach out of the ego and away from doing whatever you want.

My thought process is a bit circular and paradoxical, I admit it. I also tried to be brief, which led to a long list at one point being truncated to the phrase "whatever you want" which might be misleading. My intent was more like "anything at all." In other words, meaning is everywhere. Even the post office. (Or it's nowhere, and that's ok too.)

Wanting your life to be meaningful is still you, caring about your life, that's the ego part. You can skip the whole meaning thing if you want, and just start doing things. I dunno, it helped me unblock myself.

I understand the anxiety and the relief from abandoning a possibly unending and self-destructive task for "purpose", but it is exactly that energy which propels humans to do great things. But I agree, meaning can be everywhere.

This is a little dystopian to me. You absolutely can have a job which pays you to build things you think matter.

How many coders can have such jobs? 5%? 10%? Probably not more... For the rest of us, you either find satisfaction in the craft itself, or outside work.

> Think of work as merely collecting resources to maintain life.

Work related tasks are 50%+ of you awake time so it's kind of hard to forget about it.

I could work 2 days a week while keeping my lifestyle but it's next to impossible to find a stable job allowing that schedule.

I agree with the sentiment somewhat, but when we're spending the majority of our waking days at the "dumpster fire" and just a few hours doing what we love, it feels wrong and depressing.

If you'd started 35 years ago you could have had a decent quality of life earning a living as a mailman. If you're starting out now you'll probably need a second job to make ends meet if you're in an expensive part of the country..

Entry level mail carrier makes an average of $35k. It goes up to $55k after 20 years. That's around $17.50 to $27.50 per hour. That's not wealth, but it isn't poverty either.


Thanks to Amazon, you can get all the overtime you want right now.

The problem with the new jobs at the postal service is that everyone gets brought in for the first ~ year as a temp of sorts.

The hiring process is full of nepotism as well. Also, unfair or not, veterans get hiring priority as well.

My grandfather raised a family of eight kids on a mail carrier salary in Walla Walla after he got back from WW2. He sent them to private catholic school as well, I really don’t get how he did that.

It's realizations like this that drove me to working from home 10 years ago.

I get to do the geeky work I love, eat lunch with my wife and kids, and my commute is a flight of stairs.

I don't think I could ever go back into an office.

that still seems like a climate controlled cube, just... maybe bigger?

Did you miss the part of the article where he describes his LLV (mail delivery vehicle) as an 'oven' in the summer.

I'll stick to my bigger climate controlled cube filled with my loved ones.

The Earth itself is a climate controlled geoid, although the climate control systems may not remain operational for long.

It will remain functional, although its parameters are changing.

i think the promise it used to return is changing as well...

How did you end up choosing to do this? Some of us took this path because we didn't get along with people.

Most people don't really chose consciously. We just follow what we're told until it seems too late to deviate from the course.

I personally ended up in IT because "why not it pays well and I like computers", I wasn't the same person when I chose that path and now I'm actively trying to figure a reasonable way out.

> There are only a few who control themselves and their affairs by a guiding purpose; the rest do not proceed; they are merely swept along, like objects afloat in a river. And of these objects, some are held back by sluggish waters and are transported gently; others are torn along by a more violent current; some, which are nearest the bank, are left there as the current slackens; and others are carried out to sea by the onrush of the stream. Therefore, we should decide what we wish, and abide by the decision. - Seneca

> I personally ended up in IT because "why not it pays well and I like computers",

I liked computers too, ever since my (divorced) dad showed me one. But why did I find them so interesting? Probably because I mostly played / occupied myself alone as a child, I read books while other children preferred "stupid" outdoor activities. We don't do what we're told, we follow whatever suits our personalities, at least if we have a choice.

> There are only a few who control themselves and their affairs by a guiding purpose;

This is more about goals in life, no?

I'm starting to realize I'm not good with people either.

I've got a problem with everyone and everyone has a problem with me.

This forum is very hard science, measurement, real-world - but I've extracted great joy and peace in some of the more eastern, buddhist-type teachings. Building compassion towards other people needs to start by being compassionate towards yourself.

You don't need to buy into the dogma, but some of the buddhist authors have developed great mental practices of dealing with fear, for instance. As an example author, I thoroughly recommend Thich Nhat Hanh.

Self-compassion also has great benefits in the business world, as you learn to understand and listen to your counterparts better, instead of being driven by a selfish agenda. This is, of course, just a by-product and not the main dish.

If your job is to sit in a dark closet & stare at a wall, is that job a waste of your life if you LOVE it? It's up to you to decide. Personally, I would hate being a mail carrier for many reasons, one of which would be thinking of myself as a 90% junk mail flinger. I love writing code, and I spend almost no time questioning the value of reimplementing a certain type of feature for the bajillionth time if that is what the job requires.

It's not and you know it.

But yet here we are.

Everyone finds their freedom when they're ready to.

What's that? Secret Life of Walter Mitty?

I live for my long holidays.

Work on improving the day the folks in your cube farm have in simple ways and you will have just as big a following when you leave as this gentleman.

This is not about him being a postman or doing "real world" work - its about him prioritizing making time for the people that are part of his job.

You can do that job, and have it be enormously beneficial to your family, friends, and neighbors.

Find those jobs.

Can tell you I got out of the office and it's done wonders for my mood. Humans weren't meant to sit indoors all day every day. We just weren't.

I have worked with people in tech who have this guys personality/attitude. They are friendly and personable with everyone they meet in the office.

It's lazy/wrong to think that it's the jobs fault that you don't have rich connections with those around you. If we want this we need to help be like this. We need to be the change we want to see :)

It wasn’t for me, so I went into public service and the management/business focused side of digitalisation.

The pay isn’t great, but we do get opportunities to work with cutting edge tech because every change doesn’t need to be billed by the hour.

Grass is always greener - though this is the first time I see someone envious of mail delivery. It's a job.

Reading the replies to this is really disheartening.

I assume many of you are software engineers. The job market is _great_ for us. Please take the time to find a job that you think matters for more than just acquiring money. There are plenty out there and they're probably struggling to hire too.

People making $25-$250/hr:

People making $12/hr: where are we going next! let's live life and quit our jobs and get a new one when we get back

You don't have to be a mailman to transform your neighborhood closer to something as heartwarming as this.

A good friend of mine worked as a programmer, then CEO, now Consultant... but in his spare time he'd spend all his energy on community projects, organizing everything, from Kids Halloween Tours in a small german city when that was very uncommon, to Developer Usergroups, to Startup Events to Barcamps, to TEDxs and so much more small and large.

Without him my area simply wouldn't be the same and many people know.

All it takes is just someone willing things like this into existence, over and over again.

Does the community have a recognition program? Key to the city?

This is fucking beautiful. At the same time it makes me a little sad to work at a desk, hidden from all the people my work impacts. In a city and time where neighbors keep their heads down when they pass each other and all the mailpersons wear headphones.

The people our work impacts (at least directly) are often „disrupted” (made redundant) by the new tech. It’s a good thing they don’t know us by name.

English being my second language, I picked up vocabulary from random places. The word "disrupt" will forever be associated for me with "disruptor", a weapon for "disrupting" the matter of ships and people, used by murderous Klingons and backstabbing Romulans.

Responses to stories like this make me uncomfortable.

I grew up on a small family farm in Iowa. Along with farming my father also took a substitute job as a rural mail carrier mostly for health insurance.

I can't find a better word than fetishizing to describe how – what I would call city people – think and talk about the world I grew up in.

Talking about where I came from and reading how people respond to this makes me uncomfortable at times, and moreso it is incredibly difficult to actually communicate to people without context how life was because of their pre-existing impressions.

I didn't read the whole thing, but I read enough to get the sense that it is a story about a place in America that still has a real sense of community. Many people today don't really have that anymore and desperately long for it.

My father grew up on a farm and was part Cherokee. My mother is an immigrant. I grew up some kind of sense of community and spent most of my adult life not really finding that again.

I have a history of fostering phenomenal growth for online communities of a certain size which then often seem to collapse and become a shadow of their former selves after I leave. I think it has to do with me being able to foster a real sense of community and no one else seems able to sustain that in my absence.

I typically leave because of being treated abusively, basically. I'm never seem to be given credit for what I am doing for the community. People seem unable to recognize what I do and seem to have no idea how to relate to me in a positive, constructive manner when I am actively fostering a sense of community, which is something I seem to just have a knack for, having grown up with certain things.

So I think people just long for a sense of community and it very often comes out in weird ways.

That doesn't mean your discomfort is unjustified. It's completely justified.

I'm just making an observation about a phenomenon and hopefully that will be somehow useful or meaningful information for someone reading the comments here.

City people are "fetishized" too. People are often curious about people who are different from themselves.

I can't articulate exactly why, but this is beautiful. I see it as an example of what social media should have been and hopefully what it still might become some day.

It is beautiful and it I don't think social media can ever be like that.

This is a beautiful side of the US.


Happy story, but I'm also supremely jealous. The thought of retiring after only 35 years of work! That's the outstanding accomplishment here. Either he has a great pension (remember those?) or has been a terrific, disciplined saver over those years. My Boomer parents all had generous pensions and they also retired pretty early. Us younger folks are stuck with crappy 401(k)s that place our futures in the hands of Wall Street and the stock market and other "figure it out yourself" investment vehicles. I feel like this is another ladder that's been pulled up after that generation reached the top.

The number of work years needed before you can retire can entirely be determined by the % of your take-home pay you save. For example, to retire in 35 years (assuming a 0 net-worth), you need to save 21.5% of your money. If you're on HackerNews, you probably have a high enough salary where that's absolutely doable. Bump it up to 35%, and you can knock another decade off of your working career.

You can play around with the numbers here: https://networthify.com/calculator/earlyretirement

This page, like all FIRE stuff, is making rather positive assumptions about the ROI on savings (they’re assuming 5% over inflation). I, for my calculations, am personally assuming 0% growth - I just don’t want to end on a street when I’m 65 or 75.

Even if that's true, what's the best strategy? I posit that learning to live on less is a pretty good one.

I agree. My point is that all the FIRE crowd is quitting work way too early, due to optimistic assumptions.

Your perspective is deeply distorted.

You have social security which is currently forecast to be funded 73% of current goals (not perfect but not 0 either), and 401(k) averages 7% return over decades, and you have massive quality of life improvements via technology thanks to boomers' collective work.

The lack of pensions suck, but you can get around it. My parents were in good jobs and saved a lot. They were able to retire comfortably and young. Save, more than you can.

Don’t wait. My dad lost a lot of good times due to a medical issue.

35 years of working for the Postal Service. He graduated in 1975, so thats 44 years, assuming he got a job after high school.

Or in summary, assuming he graduated at 18, he's 62.

Just think, for at least 25 of those years he's been driving the same truck.

Indeed, the Grumman LLV is very well designed for longevity!


I always wanted to buy one of these for myself, because I always thought they looked so cute! Unfortunately, other concerns, needs prevented me from doing so.

It's a Chevy S10 that was spec'd with the reliable low power engine and a different body. It's not really anything special in terms of reliability. The post office simply committed to keeping them for 30yr then followed through. It helps that they were working with a purpose built commercial body and not an "engineered to a price point" stock truck body. Any other similar truck platform of the era would have fared similarly. The late 80s/early 90s were a time when the electronics of the 90s were coming to maturity but hadn't yet snowballed in sheer volume like they did in late 90s and early 2000s.

In any other context the internet would be all "hurr durr, GM builds junk, muh indestructible Hilux because top gear". Goes to show you how much reputation and framing matters.

In hindsight the best available platform of the late 90s/early 90s for sheer reliability (in postal use) would have been a 1st gen Explorer only because the front suspension is better suited to handling potholes and driving over curbs all day and the 31spl 8.8 rear axle is complete overkill for the application (all other differences are minor/negligible IMO).

> The late 80s/early 90s were a time when the electronics of the 90s were coming to maturity but hadn't yet snowballed in sheer volume like they did in late 90s and early 2000s.

A very valid point, the ECU's etc around 1990 got a lot of the benefit of having a modern ECU with a fraction of the complexity and a lot of them where bulletproof in design.

Fascinating read on the history of computers in cars.


There's something to be said with our Government personally reaching out to every resident and citizen, even if to just deliver a letter (yes, I know the USPS isn't quite the "Government" any more, but it's close). It makes us feel connected and part of something.

I'm curious what sort of magic made her know it was his last day, and move her to document the day like that. Things like this are beautiful but I don't know how to create them in my life. It it down to an inherent personality type?

As a former newspaper reporter who occasionally was assigned to do these kinds of community features (though nothing this well-done), I remember that editors and reporters would frequently get pitches (by email or call) from random folks – because newspapers routinely publish these kinds of stories, and this was well before social media was a viable place for sharing stories.

The irony here is that the author is a newspaper reporter/editor at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and one of the most surprising things about this to me is how the AJC's website apparently didn't have this story in traditional article format. The only thing I see is a followup -- a recap of the original Twitter thread, with the update that Mr. Martin's GoFundMe went viral:


But when I think about it, I wonder if a traditional article (full of images) would have worked as well as the Twitter thread? I'm probably more tolerant of Twitter threads as a format than most people are, but this was one time in which the Twitter format – this includes the way we interact by scrolling through Twitter threads – really seemed to strengthen the material.

Seems like everyone in the community knew. Seems reasonable considering the personal relationship he had with everyone.

This article makes me happy, oddly enough someone started cutting onions in my office. I hate when they do that!

I'm going to continue to strive to be a good person, much like Floyd.

I love it. Goes to show that you can have a lasting impact no matter what job title you have.

Good to see some wholesome content

This is just awesome! Thanks for sharing @danso!

Wow this is awesome!

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