Saturday, May 1, 2010

Thinking Out Loud


By Gerard Meister

I go to the gym more often now because at 80 years of age you have to work harder to stay in shape, no matter what that shape is. In point of fact, I no longer even remember when I gave up hope of replacing Mickey Mantle in centerfield for the Yankees, but it wasn’t yesterday.

My usual routine is to start off on an excer-cycle. My gym has six of those contraptions in a row and more often than not a blow hard old codger works out similarly. The only difference being that he pontificates continuously on every subject under the sun as he pedals away. It seems as if there is nothing that the guy doesn’t know: the best brand of gasoline; the best cruise line; the best car to buy; the best restaurant for steak, fish, sushi, Chinese and Italian food; the best cardiologist, neurologist, endocrinologist and, I kid you not, gynecologist.

The guy really irked me to the point that I felt I had to find something, anything that would stump him, so maybe he would shut up once and for all. After much thought, I had a topic in mind and waited until a propitious moment for me to strike. He was pontificating on what was the best diet, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc., when I chimed in:

    “Say friend, I had heard that the acidophilus found in yogurt that comes from Mongolia, is superior to what we get in Yoplait or Dannon. You think it’s worth the extra expense shipping all the way from Ulan Bator?
    “Of course,” he said without batting an eye. Mongolian yogurt is 100% organic, no chance of any chemicals or additives fed to the goats there. That’s for sure.”
He had me there!

* * * * *

To me the most significant difference between working – I did for 48 years – and retirement is what to do with all your ties. For the entirety of my business life I never once went into the office without a tie and for the first twenty or so years I wore a vest, too. And I fought like a tiger when the office voted for “casual Fridays.” I hated it, but eventually succumbed, took off the vest and donned a blue blazer, but kept my beloved ties (or most of them, anyway) before we had a garage sale when we relocated to God’s country.

I kept six of my favorite ties, even though men in Boca Raton, Florida, wear a neck tie on only two occasions: to attend a friend’s funeral or in the other unfortunate circumstance, their own. Meeting my maker, I rationalized, is not an event which should proceed willy-nilly in a leisure suit or a Nehru jacket, so the ties hung quietly in the closet for twenty years, while the one vest that I took no longer fit and I threw it away. Then the question of what to do with my remaining ties suddenly sprung back to life. Austin, my fourteen year old grandson asked if I had any ties because he goes to Temple every Saturday and has only one tie.

As you can well imagine this warmed the cockles of my heart and I had him over laid out my six ties and told him to pick out any three, which he happily did. At dinner that evening my wife asked why I didn’t give him all the ties since I hadn’t worn one since 1989.

    “My dear,” I explained. “A house without a single tie is not a home!”

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

No comments:

Post a Comment