A Mediocre Man

At the liquor store yesterday I had to quicken my step at the last minute. I wanted to get into the checkout line before a little old lady with a walker and a bottle of sherry stepped in front of me.
Sorry for the politically-incorrect language. I know that one is not supposed to use the adjectives ‘little’ and ‘old’ before lady. I don’t even know if ladies want to be called ‘ladies’ anymore. But I’m sixty now and I’ve been called a lot worse. All’s fair in love, war and the battle for priviliges among senior citizens.
Oh yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “I could never retire,” some of my friends tell me. “I’m too energetic. How many naps do you take a day?”
Of course a bristly character such as myself cannot help but take such remarks as a subtle kick in the teeth. My buddies love to insinuate that I’m a lazy, unmotivated slacker and that of course they are not. Then there is the kicker. “I have to keep working. I’m paying your pension, aren’t I?”

Of course there may be a grain of truth to their jibes. Am I the only one tempted to save myself a few steps with heavy grocery bags by parking in the ‘Expectant Mothers Only’ spaces in the Loblaws’ parking lot ? And besides, a drinking buddy with a Phd. informed me that since I have a pacemaker I can now qualify for a ‘Handicapped’ sticker for my vehicle. Those parking spots are always closest to the arena entrances and would certainly save me a lot of energy as I carried my hockey bag into the rink before games. It’s true that it’s never been my dream to have a Handicapped sticker but if the shoe fits then why not wear it ? As Danny Devito said in the movie ‘Twins’, “Do I look normal to you?”

Speaking of looking normal, like many seniors I now have a lot of communication with the medical establishment. Those people are like charities in that once they have you on their phone list you can never get off. I received a call from someone at Ottawa’s Civic Hospital verifying that I remembered my upcoming appointment for some tests concerning my pacemaker. She was checking off her list. “Height ?’
“Five feet, eight inches,” I replied. Well, give or take.
“Weight ?”
“One hundred and eighty pounds.”
There was a brief silence at the other end of the line. “Pounds?” she hesitantly inquired.
I couldn’t help but laugh. Even over the phone I couldn’t get much respect. “If it was kilograms I’d be in even worse shape than I thought.” I laughed and she joined in merrily.

And so, dear reader, you can see a man does not have to work hard to remain humble in his years of being pensioned-off and out -to-pasture. A lawyer friend of mine was talking about recently attending a wedding which featured an open bar. Being a practical and economical man, I wondered about the expense of a two hundred person guest list when the patrons could belly up to the bar and order Chivas Regal as often as they wanted.
“The guests who order Chivas Regal are the same ones who drink wine out of a cardboard box in their fridge,” the lawyer replied.
“You must have been looking in my fridge,” I retorted.
Actually that wasn’t true. I usually drink my homemade wine at home.
The boxed stuff is for special occasions.

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