September 25, 2009
I’ve decided I’m going to retire. I know there are a few minor details I need to work out, like what I’ll do for money and what I’ll do with all my free time, but retirement just seems like too good a deal to pass up, and I’m not getting any younger, so I figure I’d better hurry up and retire while I can still enjoy simple pleasures like wearing bermuda shorts pulled all the way up to my nipples with black socks and wingtip shoes while I wander the beach with a metal detector muttering to myself. As a teenager I sometimes made extra money by mowing the lawn of a retired man who lived in the neighborhood, and one day I noticed a special license plate on the front of his car that said RETIRED. And in each of the four corners it had "No boss", "No paycheck", "No clock", and "No worries". It really made being retired sound like a pretty sweet deal, and I think I would have retired right then if I hadn’t seen other version of that same license plate that said things like "No money" or "No insurance" and once I’m pretty sure there was one that said "No food". And there was the one that said "No car". I didn’t go up close, but I bet there was an asterisk next to that and tiny print that said, "Other than this one that I’m driving."
Those license plates scared me and they reminded me of those things my grandfather used to say about what life was like in his day. "We didn’t have bermuda shorts in my day!" he’d tell me. "We had to wander around the beach in bear skins and we loved it!" Or he’d see me eating a banana and he’d say, "We didn’t have bananas in my day. We had to eat mud and we loved it!" According to him they didn’t have anything: radios, cars, light bulbs, and walking upright all hadn’t been invented when he was my age–and they loved it! Okay, honestly, my grandfather never said anything like that to me, although I’ve heard plenty of people say their grandfathers used to tell them things like that. My grandfather spent most of his time building grandfather clocks, which is probably a good way for a grandfather to spend his retirement. And when he did talk to me he’d say things like, "The three fastest forms of communication are telephone, television, and tell your grandmother." Or he’d put his knuckles up to my face and grab my nose between two fingers. And he’d say "Got your nose!" Then he’d put it back. He always remembered to put it back, except the last time he did it. So I guess I’m going to have to see if I can find one of those RETIRED license plates that has "No nose" in one corner.