This is what you get when you put a blank piece of paper in front of an old coot and tell him to write for ten minutes. Nothing! The page might as well stay blank, “What did you want me to do with this paper”? he asks, after a few minutes of inaction. Old coots are like cats; they never do what “you” want them to do, only what “they” want to do. They wear it (this attitude) like a badge. My friend, Nick, is an old coot, and he doesn’t even know it. He started young, in his forties. I picked up on it when he was 47 and announced to the room, “I’m 47 and if I want to go to the blues concert, I will!” His badge is “I’m 47 (or whatever age he is at the time) and old enough to do what I want. Other old coot badges are: “Life’s too short, so I’ll do what I want,” or, “I don’t have much time left, so I’ll do …..
My favorite old coot technique is to play the, “I’m old and senile and don’t know any better,” game. It’s very effective: “Oh, I’m sorry, did I forget to pay?” Or, “I thought the no parking sign didn’t apply to senior citizens!” It works in almost any situation. You do what you want, then lay on the “old and senile” routine when you get caught.
So here we are, five minutes gone and half the page is still blank. Not a problem for an old coot! We fill in all the blanks with, “In my day,” or, “It used to be that……..,” or, “What we used to do was……..” We love the past. We’ve been there; you probably haven’t. Funny thing about the past, everything was wonderful; kids were well behaved, schools churned out knowledgeable graduates, roads were maintained to perfection, neighbors were friendly and (like you) kept their homes meticulous. Dogs ran free and never bothered anyone. Oh, life was so grand in the past. Of course, it wasn’t! Our memories make it so and old coots are masters at polishing up old memories and throwing them in your face. It’s our favorite pastime. It’s a clever way of saying, “You’re not so hot! We figured out all that stuff years ago, and did it better!”
Well, my ten minutes are up! I would have written something clever, but life is too short, I’m sixty-seven and I’ll do what I want. Besides, I’m old and senile and didn’t know this would count toward my final grade!