My life? Oh it’s been pretty good so far, good enough that I hope it goes on awhile longer. It seems like it might be bad luck to write my obit while I’m still alive but, on the other hand, I certainly won’t be able to do it when I’m deceased, so …
Anyway, it all began in a maternity ward way back in the 1950s or so somewhere in the Midwest. For a long time there was nothing, then suddenly there was something. Bright lights, people talking and then somebody smacked me. I guess whoever did it felt bad because then they gave me a really good milkshake kind of thing and I took a nap.
Just to jump ahead a bit, a lot of stuff happened, similar to the stuff that happens to everybody. I went to school, looked out the window a lot, got in trouble every now and then but managed to get through it all without too much damage. Oh, I broke my shoulder falling off a horse, had to have my appendix yanked out and my tonsils were eradicated but none of that was too surprising.
I ate hamburgers whenever possible. One time, we were at Bob’s Big Boy and my mother said, “Now don’t order a hamburger again — that’s all you ever eat.”
“OK,” I said. “I’ll have a cheeseburger,” I told the waitperson.
Thank God, I got my driver’s license when I was 16 and was pretty much able to see life in the rear-view mirror at last. I discovered beer and girls, both made much more accessible once I had wheels. I have since given up cheeseburgers, beer and girls but still enjoy a good car now and then.
In fact, old guys like me are the only ones who give a damn about cars anymore, it seems. I’ve had Fiats, Alfa Romeos, Porsches, Peugeots, Mini Coopers, Volkswagens, Audis and just about any other kind of semi-sporty car you can think of.
I currently have not one but two Audi A3s. Put them together and you’d have an A6 but I prefer the A3 — it’s fast, handles great and is sufficiently cramped that no one wants to ride in the back seat for very long. Cynics say it’s a dolled-up VW Golf and, in fact, it is pretty much the same car if you scrape off all the leather and geegaws. That’s OK. I like Golfs too. In fact, I am thinking of getting a Golf R. That’s the racing model, what car guys call a “sleeper” cause it doesn’t look like it could blow your doors off. Y’know what I’m sayin?
In other words, you could get a Golf R and your wife would never figure out that you had bought another over-powered, overwrought, overpriced sports car.
This is the kind of stuff that runs through the aging mind. Sex fantasies, not so much.
A lot of old guys worry about money. Not me. I have quite a bit of the stuff, thanks to a couple of lucky business deals but I must admit I do worry that the stock market will crash or I’ll lose my mind and wind up in a “memory care center” for 20 years and burn through all the bucks, leaving nothing for my kids.
Lots of people think they should spend all their money before they die so their kids won’t be “spoiled.” Not me. I don’t want them to feel any more financially insecure than necessary, so they won’t have to work with people they hate.
For me, the worst thing about working was that so many of my co-workers — and especially my bosses — were unpleasant and even downright rude and/or crude. See, I worked in Washington, D.C., with a lot of political types and, believe me, there is no more distasteful group of people than ex-office holders. Except maybe “journalists.”
I’ll tell you one story, then I gotta go. I was the speech-writer and general flunky for a guy who had been a governor and then a Cabinet secretary. This guy literally could not say “Hello” unless somebody wrote it down for him. So one day, he comes back from a speaking engagement and says to me: “I told a pretty funny story in Cleveland last night, about a guy who leaves his bicycle chained up outside the library …”
I listened politely and chuckled as he repeated the joke I had written for him.
“It really got a laugh,” Mr. Big Mouth boasted. “I don’t know why I even bother having a writer.”
Well, that’s enough. See ya around.