Category Archives: oldies

Cranky Old Coots Complain and Don’t Care

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Yes, I am a coot.  I became a coot in 2014 when I retired. I have the hair in the ears to prove it.  I sometimes forget to wear pants.  The dog is learning to hide from me on days when my arthritis makes me cranky.

So I am a practicer of the ancient art of being a cranky old coot.  I have opinions.  I share them with others foolishly. And I am summarily told to, “Shut up, you danged old coot!”  And, of course, I don’t shut up because that would be a violation of number five in the by-laws of cootism.  Obnoxiousness is our only reason for still being alive.

Lately, my group of coots on Facebook (who call themselves a “pack” like wolves, but, in truth, a group of coots is called an “idiocy”) are talking about politics… very loudly salted with firmly held opinions, beliefs, and bad words in several languages.  I mean, it’s texting each other on memes we disagree about, but we do it LOUDLY, like that, in all caps.  We also do it in such an infuriating manner because, if no one ever bothers to tell us to “Shut the hell up!”  we will begin to suspect we have actually died and gone to purgatory where we are still being obnoxious, but nobody knows we are doing it.  That is rubbing coot fur in the wrong direction.

The radical right (otherwise known as coot paradise) have been cooting up a storm about school shootings and gun control of late.  They have more or less turned their ire on me because, knowing I was a school teacher, they have seized on the Coot in Chief’s notion of arming teachers to protect schools.  Obviously a majority of old coots agree that requiring a few “volunteer” teachers to conceal carry and learn how to handle a school shooter crisis situation with a gun instead of the way teachers are actually trained and practiced on handling such a situation, is the only economical way to defend schools from crazed lunatics with assault weapons.  Of course, it is definitely more economical than hiring full time police officers to handle security because “volunteer” teachers does not mean that they are necessarily willing to do it, but rather that they are doing it without pay.  And of course they shout at me things like, “Why don’t you just admit that you are too scared and unpatriotic to carry a gun as a teacher, and cowardly allow some female teacher with a big pistol to step in and do the job for you?”  That is a very coot thing to say, and is hard to adequately counter, because if you try to argue using logic other than coot-logic, like the notion that since a majority of teachers in this country are female, you are asking women who are fierce enough to do the job (and I have known more than a few who would take it on no matter how hopeless their prospects) to take a handgun that the principal bought at Walmart with money from the Coke machine in the hall and face down a suicidal maniac with an assault rifle, you will not even be heard over the cacophony of coot braying and chest-thumping, let alone be understood.

And, for some reason, coots love Trump.  Maybe because they feel he is truly one of them.  He is older than dirt.  He has an epicly bad comb-over to hide his bald spot.  He says bad words very loudly in front of women, children, and everybody.  He says, “Believe me,” a lot, especially when telling lies.  And he’s not afraid to fart in public and blame it on the dog.  I admit to insulting Trump in front of them only because I like to see coot faces fold up in extra wrinkles, and coot heads turn various shades of angry red and apoplectic purple.

So, yes.  I am a coot.  Not proud to be one… that I can remember, but a coot never-the-less.

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Filed under angry rant, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, goofy thoughts, grumpiness, gun control, humor, Liberal ideas, oldies, Paffooney, teaching

Being Old Enough to Know Better…

I am the man from the Setting Sun,

Come to the future to deliver the past.

What does that even mean, that silly little two-line poem I wrote twenty years ago?  Am I not old enough to know better than to create a snippet loaded with goofy contradictions?  Apparently not.  But I am old enough to deliver the past.  I have been around long enough that I remember when President Kennedy was assassinated.  I saw Neil Armstrong take that “small step for man” on the surface of the moon.  I have learned a number of lessons from the past.  And as a writer, I can deliver those lessons in the form of stories.  I was born in a different century.  I have been around for more than half of one… approaching two thirds.  I have collected all kinds of wonderful things in my goofy old brain.  And make no doubt about it, with six incurable diseases and being a cancer survivor since 1983, my Sun is about the set.  So, I have a mission, to open the eyes of people who are too foolish to avoid listening to what I have to say, or to read what I have written.

I saw The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews in the Cecil Theater in Mason City, Iowa in 1965 when I was not yet ten years old.  I heard the song My Favorite Things for the very first time on the old black and white Motorola TV set in the clip I posted at the start of this post.  Kukla, Fran, and Ollie was a puppet show I never missed on Saturdays if I could help it.  In a world before video games and computers and even color TV, kids still had priorities.  And my world was definitely a world of imagination.

Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Moose

Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Moose

Fess Parker as Davy Crockett, and then as Daniel Boone

Fess Parker as Davy Crockett, and then as Daniel Boone

Paul Winchell with Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff

Paul Winchell with Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff

So, what kind of knucklehead must I be to think younger folks would want to know about any of this stuff from the time of dinosaurs and black-and-white TV?  I write books that are basically genre-breakers and about way too many different things to make sense to adults.  As a result, I classify myself as a Young Adult novelist, a writer for children… but not the beginning reader kind, or the early chapter-book kind… the kind like Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, Light in the Forest, or Dicey’s Song.  I write books about what it was like to be a kid in the past… the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s… last century.  And I have some knowledge and expertise in this area because I was one of those teachers during that time period that got to know the kids in my classes.  I made the horrifying mistake of actually talking to kids, asking them about their lives, and listening to their answers.  I talked about all manner of things with all manner of kids… brilliant things and stupid things… with dumb kids, smart kids, smelly kids, charming kids, and the kids everybody else hated.  You know… I did all the stupid mistakes that teachers who have no earthly idea how to do discipline would do, and got those kids to learn to behave at least halfway like human beings by being somebody they trusted and respected and… on rare occasions… believed.  Right now I am working on Snow Babies.  It is set in 1984.  And I hope to be good enough of a Sunset Man to be able to deliver it to the future.

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Filed under humor, NOVEL WRITING, oldies