The discreet charm of the retiree

February 24, 2020

Carol’s attempts to get me off the couch have taken some unexpected turns. The initial rollout of chores and errands demonstrated the impregnability of my Fortress of Decrepitude. Her occasional clarion calls of “the weeds are back,” or “the car could use a wash and wax,” or “we’re out of food,” were met with a level of unresponsiveness usually associated with talking to a wall.

Now mind you, I’m not an oaf or a deadbeat when it comes to sharing the duties of householding. I can make a bed, empty a dishwasher or run the vacuum right there with the most helpful of mates. It’s just that my life follows a fairly strict schedule of activity of which my time on the couch is what I, too, like to refer to as “executive time.”

In this age of global warming, couldn’t we honor the weed as a sign of climate health?

Realizing that my executive time renders me as immovable as a mountain range, Carol has gamefully tried to move the mountain another way. “It’s gorgeous out today. Why don’t you go play golf?” I admit I felt a twinge akin to remorse, when it occurred to me she was willing to turn herself into a golf widow just for the sake of my kinesis. But I also feel a responsibility as an individual to defend my turf. There’s a lot going on during that executive time that doesn’t meet the eye, the same as with a mountain range that on first glance doesn’t reveal the glacial or tectonic chaos surging beneath its surface. Ahem.

First of all, I write on the couch, and I’m here to tell you, ideas don’t grow on trees, at least the ones with branches low enough you don’t have to reach up to grasp. Also, if you think it’s easy to compose sentences that read like an 8th grader wrote it, try it sometime. Over the years, I’ve developed a professional respect for the middle schooler book report.

I do almost all my reading on the couch (save for a good sports article I tend to save for extended calls of nature). Nevermind my eclectic tastes have included tomes by such literary giants as Dave Barry and Groucho Marx, reading is one of man’s noblest pursuits.

But I do understand Carol’s concerns. It’s hard to describe the life of a slacker in which I wouldn’t serve as the poster boy. There can be, I suppose, a fine line between living and dead even when a feeding tube or advanced directives are not involved. Carol has admitted that she can fall asleep sitting next to me on the couch, because I’m so still. I’ve never been compared to bedding before, but I’m not offended by it. What if I were a famous seer, oracle or the 15th Dalai Lama, waiting for a DNR to be applied to the 14th? Wouldn’t I be expected to be still? Would there be confusion as to which Lama the DNR applied to?

These are the kinds of things I think about while I’m doing executive time on the couch. Do you really think that should be interrupted just because the weeds are blocking the front door or the only thing left in the fridge is something that used to be either chicken marsala or guacamole?

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