This summer will mark my 70th orbit around the sun. In my mind I am the same person I have always been, although my body constantly reminds me I’m not. I simply don’t think of myself as old, and am surprised when strangers react to my age. Seems the younger folks are intimidated. I am making an effort to tone things down.
Today, I want into a department store to buy a money clip. I knew what I wanted, knew where it was located, and needed someone to open the display case. After locating a young lady and asking her to open the case, I noticed her hands were trembling. Sheesh, guess my car lot nickname, “The Tank”, still applies. After reaching the cash register, I asked her, “Don’t you just hate shoppers like me who take forever to make a decision”? Startled, she flinched, and then giggled. Portal to portal, I was there less than ten minutes. Hopefully, I left her smiling and laughing. My point? I had thoughtlessly made a young person very uncomfortable.
My sister is fond of remarking that I am not impatient, only because I have no patience. True, I won’t suffer fools. True, I focus on the task at hand and ignore distractions. For the many years I spent in commerce, I was usually a manager. When someone came to me with a problem requiring a decision, they got one. I was guided by General George S. Patton Jr.’s advice.
“A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later.”
I believe as a “Senior Citizen” I am obligated to set an example to the younger generation and, by example, pass on some of the lessons life has taught me. That may be just conceit, but I don’t think so. Doing so, I am finding, is far harder than I expected. It seems younger people are, in the main, polite, even deferential, towards me. I’m not sure if it my age, or my size, but I’m making a conscious effort to not be that grumpy old man. All of us, at whatever age, need to be aware of those around us, and, “not harsh their mellow”.
However, should they want to be a jackass, then I need to offer them my cumulative life experience in being a nasty son of a bitch.