Contrary to what my children think, I’m not close to being an old man yet. But I do have plans already laid out for when I get closer to the three-quarter century mark. I want to be a grumpy old cuss, just like a few I’ve met already.
• When I’m an old man, I’ll shop every week at a local deli counter. I’ll ask for smoked turkey and, when the poor clerk asks how much I want, I’ll impatiently blurt, “I told you I want a pound!” Also, no matter how they slice my order, it won’t be right the first try. When they’re done and hand the bag of deli meat over, I’ll whimper that it doesn’t look at all like roast beef.
• When I’m an old man, I’ll drive at least fifteen miles per hour under the speed limit. Should anyone angrily honk at me, I’ll cheerfully wave as though greeting an old friend. I won’t use turning signals, but when I do turn I’ll come almost to a complete stop before turning.
• When I’m an old man, I want to stand in the church foyer and complain about how the young people dress, as if they’re advertising sex. I’ll make sure to pull someone aside, via holding tightly to their arm so they can’t get away, and explain how, in my day, people didn’t even know sex existed until the age of forty.
• When I’m an old man, I wan to smell like feet. Seriously, I do.
• I want to go to a restaurant every Sunday at 6:45 a.m. and bang on the door for service. Especially if they’re already open.
• When I’m an old man, I’m going to call my children at two in the morning and ask why they aren’t in bed yet.
• Even if my hearing is perfect, I’ll ask, “Huh?” enough times that, when a stranger is talking to me, they end up shouting. Then I’ll irritably say not to yell because I’m not deaf, you know.
• When I’m an old man, I’ll bring my car to the shop every other week fifteen minutes before closing and ask them to check the air pressure, oil level, blinkers, coolant level, windshield washer fluid, steering fluid, and to test the battery. Basically have them go over everything that’s a free service.
• Since I’ll be an old man and will be able to get away with it, I’m going to barge into a public ladies restroom and, when the women in there are shocked, say I thought it was a telephone booth.
• All young men will remind me of Ted Koppel, and all young women will remind me of Brooke Shields.
And when I’m an old man, I’m going to wear denim overalls with no shirt and sit on my front porch with a banjo on my lap. Any out-of-towners driving by will get an evil look, just like in Deliverance.
That’s what I call a good retirement.