Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?




            A fellow writer in my Senior Center writing group inquired if I could write something besides satire.  You’ve read my stuff.  Is it all satire?  To answer my question, I guess it is. 

Another fellow writer said I was a curmudgeon.  Looked up curmudgeon in the dictionary.  That’s a crank, sorehead, bellyacher, crabby, and grouch.  Gosh, I’m all that? So here’s the poem this writer wrote about me.  I don’t know whether to be flattered or insulted.  You tell me. 

Oh, Jackie Oh
Always buttoned up in a Dior Knockoff, institutionalized by the other Jackie O.
She joins us with a short sheaf of sentiments
Neatly rhymed and read with reserve and gravitas.
If there’s anything even passing for good in contemporary society
I’ve not heard Jackie’s blessing bestowed

Rather, Andy Rooney of late, an institution himself on current events TV
Set the bar sufficiently high
He dissuaded all others of IQ’s greater then a head of red cabbage
From challenging his curmudgeon Olympic title.

However, I, a judgment committee of one
Do hereby award our own Jackie a Bronze
Medal in curmudgeon commentary
As brought to light here in our writing group
And of late in our free for all Lit group

It’s become an addiction for me waiting on whom and what Jackie’s wit and perspicacity will skewer
If shot through with contradictions and irritations Jackie’s on top of it for our amusement and edification.
Her bashful smile camouflaging delirious glee at poetically running
Whoever she’s chosen through - Bob Hendricks

Let’s see—am I grouchy about anything?  Well, I can’t ride my bike anymore.  I have a friend older than I am and he takes a long ride on his bike every morning.  I’m disgusted and angry with myself that I can’t even balance myself on my bike anymore.

By the way, did you know when the bicycle was first invented, doctors claimed people would get bicycle droop if they rode them and religions claimed women would become wanton because they couldn’t ride side-saddle.  So much for bicycles.

I vent with humor.  Gives me a catharis.    But getting stuff off my chest doesn’t neutralize that anger; rather it  intensifies it, so   a better strategy is to keep it all to myself and make others laugh. The main thing is identifying the goals of my anger and you can read all about them in my previous writing where I’m sounding off.

I came in contact with an old Vietnam vet with grizzled looks and hair growing everywhere, except on the top of his head, who was recently released from the psych ward at the Vet hospital.  He’d grunt, grumble and tells us off.  He says we’re all bums, as we’ve never been in a war.  And as we haven’t killed anyone, we’re complete four-flushers.

I replied,  What about all those out-of-work guys, who have no hope of finding a job, as companies are moving to areas where they pay slave wages?  Not to mention the use of automation, computers and robots to do the work that people used to do.  What about them.  Then I ended our conversation with, “It’s more fun to kill someone then it is to be out of work.” 

Not very nice of me.  Naughty Jackie.  Curmudgeon Jackie. Could I have controlled my angry outburst.  Because now that I’ve unloaded I feel guilt, which is nothing but anger at myself. It’s good to have a few knacks to beat back the anger. Humor is my #1 solution.  But my second choice is reading.  Sooner or later I’ll find the answer in a book.

Of course, there’s always Anger Management classes.  I don’t know of any classes around here, but of course maybe people that attend those classes don’t want anyone to know.  I know I sure wouldn’t. And of course there’s the pharmaceutical calm.  I know a lot of people who do their morning calm pills with their coffee and I might have become one of those too, as I went through a depression (anger turned inward), and guzzled coffee like an addiction, but reading pulled me out of my depression.

What did I read that has changed my life.  Well, it was one sentence, don’t know where I found it, but the sentence was, “Anger is nothing more than holding the concept, I’m entitled to a just world.”    Anger all gone.  Of course, it also, helps that I live alone.




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