A sad, retired, perhaps unstable man

My friend, Rob, retired last year.

Like my previously retired friends, Rob has attempted to rub it in with photographs of his endless vacation. 

But unlike my previously retired friends, who send me photos of picturesque golf courses and idyllic swimming holes, Rob is not nearly as good at hurting me as the rest.

Look at the photos he sent on the first day of school.

These are scary.

Cloudy, solitary beaches. 
A dead tree. 
An empty boardwalk.
A buzzard?

I'm worried about Rob. He seems a little mentally unsteady. Unimaginably sad. Perhaps filled with longing and regret. Unstable.  

When I attempted to taunt Rob about the ineffectiveness of these photos, his reply was this:

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It's worse than I thought. 

At last I have a plan for old age

When I was young, I played a lot of video games. I started on an Atari 2600 and eventually moved onto an Atari 5200, a Nintendo, PC gaming, online gaming, and a great many coin-operated arcade games.

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I stopped playing video games about ten years ago, opting instead to use my time to write, read, play golf and poker, and do other things. Now that I have kids, my desire to play has waned considerably.

If given the choice of playing with Clara and Charlie or some nonexistent enemy on a computer screen, I choose my children every time.

But I didn’t stop loving video games. I just found better and equally enjoyable ways of being productive. But I’ve often thought about when and if I will play video games again.

Now I know. 

Author Dan Kennedy said something on stage recently while hosting a Moth StorySLAM in New York. I can’t remember why it came up, but he said that his plan for old age is to play video games. He said it facetiously (I think) and made a joke about it before moving on, but I found myself sitting there, thinking, “Yes. That could be my plan for old age. Play lots and lots of video games.”

I have no intention of every growing old or dying, but there may come a time when I have to slow down a bit. When I have more time on my hands. When the desire to sit slightly more often overtakes me.

When that happens, video games will be waiting for me.

It’s brilliant.

At last I have a plan for my late nineties and early hundreds.

Call of Duty 56.

I can’t wait.

Stop the retirement madness. Please.

Could someone please tell Derek Jeter that he can still play and that his retirement is making me feel less like a boy and too much like an adult.

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While we’re at it, take the guitar away from Bernie Williams and put him back in centerfield.

Get Paul O’Neill out of the broadcasting booth and back into right field.

Remind Mariano Rivera that he had an All Star season last year and should be playing right now.

I prefer my sports heroes to be timeless, damn it.

What is Peter Segal thinking? You don’t replace an 80 year-old man with a 74 year-old man.

Fans of NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me! will know that official judge and scorekeeper Carl Kasell has retired from the show after sixteen years.

Kasell is 80 years-old.

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While I understand Kasell’s desire to relax in his golden years, it’s hard to replace a seemingly permanent fixture in my weekly entertainment schedule. As a result, I was slightly annoyed by his decision.

The man has been speaking inside my head for more than a decade. He has no right to leave now.

I was even more annoyed by the decision to replace him with “legendary anchorman” Bill Kurtis. While I have no issues with Kurtis or his performance as scorekeeper and judge, the man is going to be 74 year-old this year.

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I’m probably going to have to deal with another retirement in a few years.

The producers of the show couldn’t replace Kasell with someone in their forties or fifties? Someone who will be around for a long time?

These changes are hard on me. I don’t like it when routines are disrupted. I don’t like it when beats and cadences change. I don’t like it when the people who talk inside my head every week go away.

No offense, Mr. Kurtis, but you probably only have a few years before you announce your retirement, so I refuse to invest an ounce of emotional energy in our relationship.

You’re already dead to me, Bill Kurtis. You’re a robot who has been programmed to keep score and make amusing comments. Don’t even think of worming your way into my heart. 

There will be no love from me.

Losing Carl Kasell was hard enough.