“Sometimes the truth is arrived at by adding all the little lies together and deducting them from the totality of what is known.”~Terry Pratchett, Going Postal
I have to say that the thought of the possible demise of the United States Postal Service saddens me. For all its flaws, there is something profound about the ability to send a card or a letter to a dear one anywhere in the country for less than a couple of quarters. Some emails may fill people with excitement, but I have a hard time mustering the affection for a pixelated missive to compare to that heartwarming spark in the nervous system that comes on holding a paper written to you by a loved one. It really is a precious thing.
I wonder if people even recognize their own parents'/children's handwriting any more?
What is wrong and has been wrong with the USPS is something I saw as a crushing weight within mere months of my employment there starting in 1985. I was grateful for a well-paying job, and in my 20s with no debts and no responsibilities, I lived quite well for the 9 years I worked there. However, I found disgusting the way the labor unions had effectively hobbled the entire system. Shitty employees rarely got fired, and good workers without the wisdom to suck up to the appropriate parties would sometimes lose their jobs over non-issues. It was a brutal system and I quickly learned to despise unions and their tactics.
So it has come to this: the USPS with its excessive benefits/compensation structures has reached a point of unsustainability and is most likely not long for this world. If I still worked there, this would be my 26th year. If I had stayed, it would only have been for the security, and today I'd be in the same position I now find myself: going to school to start another career.
Thank goodness I left 17 years ago, rather than riding it out because it was sensible-- I'd be very bitter now, because when I left after 9 years, at the ripe old age of 28-- I was already feeling quite burned.
And still, I believe in the romance and the institution of the post. I believe in being able to write heartfelt sentiments and know that they will be in the hands of a loved one far away in the mere space of a few days. Who will deliver our Christmas cards and our birthday greetings and missives of condolence when there is no more USPS? For all its flaws, I wish we could break the union chokehold and save the good core of the system, and let it move forward on a more sensible business model with benefits and compensation to employees commensurate with current market values, but that ain't gonna happen. I'm sad that sending letter is going to be a quaint, far-distant memory for a lot of us soon, and for a good chunk of the population, it will be a never-was.