Retirement is not for the faint of heart

They just don’t listen! All around me people that I know are retiring. They ask me how I like it, I tell them and they still retire. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t go back to the work-a-day world for anything. I couldn’t! I have no time to hold down a regular job anymore, I’m trying hard to find time for regular bathroom breaks.

The brainwashing starts early. Remember getting your first paycheck? It wasn’t as big as you thought it was going to be, was it? My employer explained that the numbers carved into the rock he gave me (it was a long time ago) were accurate — some of my money went to the government for taxes and some went to Social Security and I’d be getting it back when I retired. That was the first time I had run into that word — retired, I didn’t think it meant to be tired again but I wasn’t sure, prefixes being unreliable things. The carrot was dangled and I chased it for years. Go to work every day, earn all you can, don’t complain when the government takes a large share, it’s for your retirement.

You see retired people on television and in magazines. Happy, healthy, slim, trim, white haired former quarterbacks and cheerleaders, tanned and smiling with their own teeth. They are always golfing, playing tennis, visiting exotic places. I could hardly wait for my AARP card to arrive. It comes about five years before you can even think of retiring and each issue of its magazine features the aforementioned folks doing all those wonderful things in all those great places.

I consider myself an expert on retirement having been retired now for several years. I know a lot of retirees and none of them has even been in an AARP publication. If they played tennis, most of them would need a visit to a chiropractor (the retiree’s best friend ). The most exotic place I’ve visited since I retired is Coxsackie. I don’t spend my days sunning on the beach for fear that some group of do-gooders will appear and try to push me back into the water, thereby saving my life. As far as toothy smiles go, without their dentures, most of the older folks I know would look like poster kids for a dental hygiene campaign. Getting old ain’t pretty!

My advice to potential retirees is don’t! The pay is terrible, you never get a day off, you have no excuse for not doing things. You can’t even put something off until the weekend because your life is now one big weekend. Think of the average weekend, the hustle and bustle trying to get the yard work done and all the other chores necessary to keep the household running — you will be facing that every day with no let up. You are at everyone’s beck and call because you don’t work. Babysitter, clean up person, volunteer, you will be on the move from dawn to dusk and beyond because “You don’t have to get up and go to work.” It’s a tough job and the only way to get out of it is to die.

So think about it, you gainfully employed, you with your coffee breaks and vacations, maybe you don’t want to retire. After a long ponder, I decided that they have this retirement thing all wrong, you should retire at 18 when you are still young enough and have all that energy to waste and when you burn out around age 55 or 60 then go to work at some quiet peaceful job so you’re rested up and ready to meet your maker. You’ve got to be tough to be retired.

Thought for the week — Middle age is the time when a man is always thinking that in a week or two he will feel as good as ever. — Don Marquis

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick at

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