Archive for August, 2009

He Retired

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Today I discovered that a gentleman I had thought was 58 at the most was actually 68. I was shocked.

Like I said I had always figured 58 was the upper limit of how old he was. If you forced me to bet, I would have said that he was in his early fifties and had some secret vice that had aged him some. I figured on him being a drinker, to tell you the truth.

This assessment of the man was unkind. I had no evidence to support my pejorative imaginary back story for the man. My thoughts were slandering the man for no reason.

Don’t get the wrong impression from my unvoiced slander. I have always liked this guy from the first time I laid eyes on him. He has a face that always smiles. He has a face that looks honest. He has a face that looks kind.

The rest of him looks like a hobo who is used to hard labor. His clothes are always in terrible shape, even granting that he works in the trades. And he has this way of ambling about his business that almost gives the impression that he has no place he has to be.

But I don’t really care for the company that he works for. I find the boss quite unprofessional. Some of their work has been sub par. I would have sworn that one gentleman who worked for them was stoned all the time. And on and on I could go.

Why would a nice old man work for a company like that? Why would he haul a 50 pound chipping hammer the length of a foot ball field for a company like that? Why would he use that 50 pound chipping hammer to blast an 18″ by 16″ hole through 18″ of concrete and brick for a company like that?

I saw an old man who seemed talented and personable doing some of the nastiest jobs around. I could only figure that he must have some secret vice that derailed his life.

But when I found out that he was almost seventy years old, I had to ask….

“With all your experience, why aren’t you a foreman or something?”

“Oh, I had my time in the sun. Let the kids have their turn.”

“Didn’t like the stress, huh?”

“Yeah. I was in charge of 400 people when I worked for Xerox.”

(After I picked my jaw off the floor) “Maintenance?”

“Naw, Production. I had mixture of salaried and hourly under me. ”

“You retired from there?”


“And you decided to do this?”

“Well, I couldn’t stay home and do nothing. I would go crazy.”