The Story of Mark & Retirement
Updated: Mar 8, 2021
When I worked at Iron Mountain, our fueling vendor was Penske Truck and we were told to fuel there whenever possible.
Most of the time when I got fuel, the guy working the pumps was "Mark." He was your typical dumpy guy next door who liked to talk sports and drink beer.
After years and years of small talk, one day Mark was agitated, which he never was. He confided in me that he couldn't wait to retire. I laughed and told him that was 20 years away. Mark couldn't have been any older than 45.
Then he got all serious on me, "let me tell you Fred, I've been working at Penske since I was 19 years old. I've been working with the city since high school-"
"Wait a minute. You work two jobs?"
Mark: "Yeah, I work here from 6 am to 2:30, then I work for the city from 3 to 11."
"I had no idea."
Mark: "Well I'm sick of it. I got married in my 20's, but that girl was a bitch. Luckily we didn't have any kids. When I go divorced I swore to myself that that I'd work my ass off when I was young, but I'd be able to retire at 49."
Well good for you, everyone's got to have goals in life.
Mark: "But I'm almost there. Just a few more years."
What's your retirement plan?
Mark: "I'm going to buy a pontoon boat and fish away my retirement."
Mark looked hurt. "That's it. That's the plan. I don't need much. A pontoon boat. And fish. I'll be good."
Good luck with that.
Shortly thereafter I was terminated from Iron Mountain. My partner at Beacon of Speech, Ted, called me about 3 years ago and, in the passage of conversation, blurted out, "did you hear Mark at Penske died?"
No, what happened?
"Massive heart attack. 47 years old."
I proceeded to tell Ted the pontoon boat story.
Every single week I think of Mark and the damn pontoon boat.
Usually it's when the topic of retirement comes up, but not today. Today one of his co-workers that I'm still friends with on social media posted these 2 memes.
I used to think that I just really missed Mark more than I realized.
Now I think he haunts me.