Imagine: ol’ codgers sittin’ on a bench…..

Despite my overwhelming ambivalence to urban living, there are some surprisingly entertaining moments now and again.

Today I met a guy who – disturbingly – thinks along the same lines as I do and altho that is sufficiently weird in itself, even more oddly, he used similar vocabulary and speech patterns.  As one gets older, one is usually more often defined as being different from others – not more similar.  This was a treat.  65 year-olds at play.

OK.  Richard was better looking (6 years younger) but that hardly counts.  Not to me, anyway.  The waitresses I flirted with seemed OK with my charms, his looks and Larry’s wallet. (Why choose when you can have it all and a 20% tip?)  And anyway, ugly is as ugly does and I like to think I do beautifully.  The two of us plus our mutual good friend, Larry, had a good time at lunch letting our imaginations soar.  And they were soaring green.

“We are entering a transition phase from an oil-based, growth-at-any-costs collective mind set to a more local, sustainable one.  I think everyone knows that.  But what does that transition look like and how do we contribute meaningfully?” 

“Well, I ran away.  Use less gas.  That’s good.  Got older and punch fewer people in the face now.  That’s good.  Went to live off the grid, write letters to the editor and rant about how bad others are. So I do my bit.  And that all kinda keeps me busy enough most of the time.  When I have some extra hours and energy, I build something or hurt myself.  Usually both of those things are accomplished.”

“I don’t wanna be rude but, like, have you ever thought of, like, maybe, you know, expanding your vision or something?” 

“Well, there’s always the basic King of the World-type fantasies, ya know?  Cheap B movie hero transference-thing? Win the lottery?  Get elected, start a rock band; that kind of thing?  That works in the short run for me.  But, practically speaking, I am no longer looking to build the empire.  I am having trouble maintaining it, fixing things, cleaning the gutters.  And I go to bed early.  What were you thinking?”

I dunno.  Lately, recycling garbage and methane gas generation…….

” I do that.”

“…I meant on an industrial scale, you twit!” 

“Well, if my wife’s opinion counts………..”

“Honestly, I don’t know.  I just think that it is time to look at the world we are leaving our kids.  I think maybe we should clean it up, green it up and lean it up.  Have you read the book Oil Obesity or something like that?”

“Careful now…..we just met”.

Sorry.  Do you read those kinds of books?” 

“All the time.  I am drawn to them.  They are depressing as hell.  My kinda books.  But they all hold out a glimmer of hope, too.  Change or die is the basic message but change can be fun is the second.  A good one is The Rise of the Naked Economy.  But I also recommend, The End of Growth.  Seems we are also running out of oxygen.  Pretty neat, eh?  But, my advice? You really have to watch some sit-coms in between tomes of doom or your alcohol consumption starts to rise.  Trust me.”

“Shouldn’t we actually be doing something, tho?”


“I dunno……………but, ah…….my meter is about to expire.  I gotta go.  We really have to do this again, sometime.  Nice to meet ya!” 

“Yeah…………………, too.  If you come up with a game changer, call me.  Leave a message or something.  Or tell Larry….or….whatever………….”

“Yeah, yeah…gotta run…see you guys…..”

“So, I gotta go, too, Dave.  Gotta meeting.  Gotta go.  See ya, Dave.  Good to see you again.  We’ll do this again sometime, eh?”

“I’m in. Whenever.  But you know……….right?

Know what……………?”

“World’s doomed.  You now that, right?  If it relies on us, we are all toast.”

“Yeah.  I know.  I consider this kind of lunch my charity work for retired guys.  Hope you enjoyed your meal?  Gotta go.”

“I did.  See ya.  Thanks for the donation!”

4 thoughts on “Imagine: ol’ codgers sittin’ on a bench…..

  1. As one of the old codgers perched (not sitting still) on the bench at lunch, it’s always intriguing, always amusing and occasionally inspiring to hear (and read) your thoughts, Dave. I admire that you two have followed your dream and committed to your principles by choosing another path. I’m still running hard on the treadmill and well aware that it’s time-limited (not the tread-mill, just my ability to run this hard), but the real challenge is the first step off. I am well-aware or persuaded that most of our global economic models and morals are unsustainable, but I don’t know if the change (and the fall from the heights) will be through a huge pop of the balloon or through a slow leak and deflation. Life is (for each of us as individuals) a cycle and we will all die and move on (or not) to something else. I can be (and I am) accepting and not afraid of my own death (though I hope the process of dying is a “big pop” for me, and given to serve a good and generous purpose). I don’t like the proposect of leaving my kids or grandkids to a desperate and hopeless world. So a significant part of me wants to say “no, no no!” to the purveyors of doom and decline. Humankind can do better than that and I guess that’s really where we were hoping to get to yesterday over lunch: “if the shoals of destruction is where the ship of humanity is now heading, how can we turn it to a new, inspired and healing destination?”
    But I digress …..


    • To all five of my regular readers (not counting Sal who reads for editing purposes) please see the codger’s response above. It is like a resurrection if not a revolution. I’m talkin’ ‘ bout our gen, gen, generation! The baby boomers are lookin’ to fix things. This, of course, may just be a phenomena of my MY friends but, so far, it is a message that seems consistent from everyone who, at 60+, is still sane and not too drug addled. In other words: there is hope. Really. God bless us all, Tiny Tim!


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