On Golden Pond

Nov 7, 2010

Dear Dave,

Sorry if I’m a bit out of breath. I just finished trimming the hedges… again. Third time this week.

It’s not that I’m lacking for things to do, mind you. It’s just that right now I’m sitting squarely on the fence between flyfishing and ski season, and life is a bit slow.

You see, I’m recently retired. I was the director of a large IT group at a major university, and, with a few glaring exceptions, it was a fabulous job. Interesting people and wicked problems made my workdays at once challenging and tremendously rewarding.

But, as they say, that was then. Unfortunately, as much as I love building birdhouses out of plastic milk jugs - you should see the cute little sparrow’s A-frame I just finished! - and having breakfast with my friends at Denny’s, I’m finding life a little, well, dull.

Any suggestions for guys like me?

Signed,

Waiting for Dancing with the Stars to Come on at Seven in Louisville


Dear Waiting for Dancing with the Stars to Come on at Seven in Louisville,

I’m glad you brought this sensitive and timely subject to light for all of us. As the Baby Boomer generation bumps gently against the dock, this tragic problem of the bowel-clogging ennui which accompanies retirement will surely garner increased attention. Thank you for being a brave pioneer!

Personally, I’ve drawn upon my decades of experience as a competitive speed walker and am currently using the time-honored racer’s practice of “just-screwing-around-and-going-through-the-motions” to prepare myself for my golden years.

Rather than waiting for my retirement to begin before, say, making little clay toothpick caddys at the Rec Center, or hanging out at Home Depot and asking complete strangers if they can help me find my lower dentures, I do these things now. I consider this a high-level form of training. I’m not really sound asleep in meetings or arguing with my own reflection in appliance store windows, I’m simply practicing. And these Dear Dave letters I write to myself? Ditto. They’ve given me a solid feel for what it will be like to be ignored, unpaid, and irrelevant. I love it already!

This approach is, of course, useless for you; you’ve already hit the wall. But I do have a thought which may help fill your days and ease your discomfort: The Frenzy is hiring greeters.

That’s right; after years of stumbling around in the dark, those overcooked troglodytes down in Frenzy HQ have decided to throw the doors open to the public. They’ll be offering tours of their whole wretched facility - the archives, the store, the “Hurt Locker” (the storage closet where they keep their workout clothes), everything. They’re looking for folks with strong constitutions and a thorough understanding of dysfunctional organizations. Pay is commensurate with experience (divided by fifty), and the magazines in the break room are all from this year. Mostly.

If you can stand long hours on your feet, cramped, poorly-lit corridors, and Steve Bailey, this might just be the answer for you. Give them a holler before they decide on another sucker… er, candidate.

And, did you say DwtS starts at seven?

Dave