I'm Done

I've come to a decision: I'm ready to retire.

Now I know what you are thinking. "Rich you are too young and full of pep and zest to head south for the rest of your life!" But I really don't think I am. I've taken stock of the things I enjoy in my life, and the things I would be able to do as a retiree, and aside from the fact that I have no idea how I would be able to support myself financially... I really do think it is about time for me to retire.

As I cross the hump from my early 20s into my late 20s, I have started to wonder: shouldn't I be a millionaire already?

When I was in my teens I looked at 25 as the pinnacle of my life. That would be the year of my prime, the year in which I was wanted by gorgeous women, making tons of money and reveling in my success.Well since rounding 26 and heading deeper into this decade of my life, I realize the only gorgeous women who want me are those who need a jar of jelly opened. I certainly don't make tons of money. And after some unmet expectations, I have redefined success as getting through the whole day with my fly closed.

So if I can't have the life I had anticipated, I might as well fast forward to the end of this movie and head right into retirement. I think it is really the best option at this point.

My parents are retired and living in South Carolina. This is a fine place to retire. Visiting them makes me realize that while I may have to give up certain things I enjoy to live in a place like they do, the benefits to my life would far outweigh any losses I would suffer.

Here is why I think I should retire.

While I enjoy an active and engaging lifestyle I also really like doing nothing. Not the kind of nothing that involves bumming around the house, fiddling with this and that. No. I mean nothing! Staring out the window at a tree kind of nothing. Doing so much nothing that I fall asleep because I am so relaxed. That is the kind of nothing I can really sink my teeth into.

Here is a rough itinerary for the days I typically spend visiting my parents.

Wake up, eat, golf, eat, nap, eat, watch TV, read, eat, sleep.

This is by far the most beautiful schedule I have ever seen. Picasso couldn't have painted a better schedule if he put its nose on the side of its face. Now the activities may switch place or occur in a different order, and once in a while there will be something additional like "shopping" or "visit Savannah" or "eat thirty cookies" thrown in. But for the most part, the schedule here is pretty accurate.

I would like to take this moment to point out that the golf is not a fixed structure on the calendar. While I generally enjoy golf I am so bad at it I really do question why I continue to play. It is a sport that entails a fair amount of adding. And the way I swing the club I have to do a lot of adding. The ball never goes in a straight path. And I usually end up spending half the day walking around the woods like I'm trailing Sacagawea.

Retirement relaxes you... I'm guessing. At least I feel relaxed when I am pretending I am retired. The only reason I even wear my watch when I visit is to make sure I didn't miss my tee time. Otherwise who needs a watch? What was I going to miss? It is always time to eat a cookie and take a nap. Always.

And as for my phone I just leave it in my room. Nobody calls me. The only person that calls me is my friend Megan and I'm pretty much the only person that calls her. So if we both walked around without our phones the only thing we would be wondering about is what the other person is doing.

In fact a lot of the time I turn my phone off. Why not? Nobody is going to call me to ask me to have dinner or hang out or anything like that. All my friends are 800 miles away. Who is calling me? Phone, you can be turned off.

I want to lead a life like these dogs I saw in the backyard of one of the houses on the golf course.

Any place where dogs hang out on lounge chairs has to have something really special about it.

Now maybe you think I am going to miss out on some really important things by skipping right to retirement.

Like what?

Working for 40 more years? Pass. Fighting commuters, crazy cab drivers, and mass hordes or tourists? Pass. Battling the freezing cold? Really pass.

The only concern I have is how I will support myself financially. And to be honest I really don't know how I will do it. But I'm sure there is a lot of money to be made in the untapped market of opening jars for old ladies. And as long as my fly stays up, I will have all the success I need.

Coming Distractions

Since leaving college, going to the movies by myself is one of my favorite things to do. I get to see whatever I want and I can go at a moments notice. And instead of talking to the person in the seat next to me, I get to observe people engaging in the most curious behavior, behavior that they think no one sees. But they’re wrong.

I have paranoia about being late for things. More than anything I hate getting to a movie late and being forced to climb and stumble past a bunch of strangers, simultaneously falling forwards and backwards while thrusting my crotch and or ass into their face while they sit motionless and gnaw on a twizzler like the last piece of candy they ate was a skittle they found on the floor when they were 3.

So I try to get there as early as I can. And oftentimes I go early in the week to see a movie that’s been out for some time ensuring a smaller audience. My ultimate goal is to see a movie by myself but it hasn’t happened yet. The closest I came was me and 1 other guy.

But if you go the movies on different days, you will notice the differences in the type of people that attend the movies on those days.

Early in the week you tend to find couples who are comfortable with each other, people who just want to spend some time around each other and see a film. They don’t need trays of popcorn, candy, and nachos. They are comfortable just hanging out.

Them and creeps. They go early in the week too. No not me, OTHER creeps.

As for Friday Saturday nights? Those are the couples looking to make a statement, proud guys and flashy girls. Less than impressive girls with spray painted on jeans and aggressive hair holding hands with steroidal hulks wearing baby doll t-shirts that make their biceps look like aliens trying to hatch from pods while they carry 92 ounce cups of soda and enough nachos to feed Oaxaca.

“Hey date of mine; don’t my intergalactic arms and Mexican fiesta make you think more of me? No? What about the pool of Axe I bathed in before coming here?”

Large groups of loud teenagers complete with shoe gazing boys and peacocking girls, coming out to the universe while still combating the horrible and wonderful after effects of puberty appear as well. They to be loud and draw attention, combating their insecurities with extroverted behavior and loud jokes (I wouldn’t know anything about that.)

And as for the Sunday Matinee? Why, old people of course. It’s half priced movie time. They’ve been up since 5 in the morning, so going to a movie at 1 pm is practically a night out on the town. By the time they get out at 3:30 it’s just in time for a late night dinner and lights out by 5. It’s downright adorable to see them lined up around the block from the small independent movie theater in my town. It’s like watching a really excited group of people in super slow motion.

Aside from the obvious differences in the types of people, seeing a movie by yourself also helps you realize certain trends in behavior.

I have been in several movies where there is quite a lengthy pause between the announcements (no smoking, no cell phones, no Macarena-ing) and the first trailer. People on average have about 13 seconds of tolerance before they start verbalizing unhelpful condescension to the audience. Phrases like, “um hello?” or “I didn’t pay 12 dollars to NOT watch a movie” and other such witty banter.

And then somebody ultimately turns around and looks up at the projection booth.
What are they looking for?

Do they expect to see absolute mayhem as hundreds of feet of film come flying out of that tiny hole in the wall, the projectionist hanging from the ledge by a finger while some giddy baboon with a spear in one hand throws trash at the audience with the other?

No. There is nothing to see up there. I’m sure whatever is not happening on the screen is known to the little man in the booth up there. There really is probably only one instance when nobody is aware what has happened and that is if the projectionist dies and I bet that happens like once a year tops.

The behavior doesn’t get any better when you go to see the new Star Trek at 11 o’clock in the morning the week after it opens. That’s an interesting crew.

And of course for this particular performance there was another opportunity for hilarious improvised commentary. You know that light music that is playing when you walk into the theater before any sort of theatrical trailer starts? It is basically elevator music.

Well when halfway into the film at a crucial moment when the characters are hurtling through space without a parachute… the soundtrack died and a crappy country music song came on like the credits had just finished rolling and it was time to leave.

It was a bit incongruous. A giant drill of fire, characters fighting with swords and intergalactic guns all while some whiney chick complained about her sundress and her guitar.

It went on for like 5 minutes prompting commentary like, “I guess this qualifies as technical difficulties” and the less eloquent “HEYYYYYY!”

Even I thought about getting into the act with something like, “I don’t think anybody in Queens ever paid $11.50 to listen to country music.” But I was able to restrain myself.

All in all going to the movies by yourself is quite the character study. Especially when its Star Trek on a Sunday morning, because you know every other individual person in the theater is looking at every other individual in the theater and thinking the same thing;


The Derm

My cultural heritage is somewhat of a mixed blessing. While the Italian from my mother's side has given me thick brown lustrous hair, the Irish German from my father's side has given me pale and somewhat, well, delicate skin.

Having such a precarious epidermis, I must make regular trips to the Dermatologist. Unlike some other doctors, you can’t get away with keeping some of your clothes on during the examination. The Dermatologist needs to look at all of your skin. And I don’t know about you folks but I have skin everywhere.

This poses an interesting challenge for me, in that I am someone who likes to project a vibe of strength and confidence. Yet, I struggle to do so while standing around in my underwear in a room full of strangers.

I didn’t go to the dermatologist for the first time until I was in college. I had heard of the Dermatologist and was aware of their contributions to society, but on my first visit I had no idea what to expect.

The first thing I didn’t expect is what a rock star the dermatologist was! I can usually get a doctors appointment anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks out. But for the Dermatologist, we had to make an appointment a year in advance.

A year? I’ve planned international vacations in less time. Who were all these people going to the Derm? What group of humans was so intent on seeing the Derm that they were filling up every single appointment for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 50 weeks a year? When I arrived for my first appointment I got my answer: old people. They were everywhere.

I was in a small space packed with old people. Apparently the more wrinkles your skin has, the more that can wrong with it. What kind of life style am I leading that the only people I spend my free time with are the people collecting social security that is taken out of MY taxes. I felt like walking up to them and saying;

"Ya know you are only here because I’m paying for it."

I was called in for my appointment by one of the assistants who said to me;

“Strip down to your underwear, take off everything except for your socks.”

This wouldn’t have been so embarrassing had my dad not been in the room with me for our joint appointment.

The Dermatologist is so busy that I couldn’t get my own appointment. I had to be seen with a family member and we weren’t even getting a discount.

So now my father and I were standing there like a pair of potato famine thieves at the end of a strip search, waiting for a strange man we’d never met to come into our room and inspect our Irish German abnormalities.

As the assistant left the room she pointed to something on the chair and said;

“You may put on a gown if you like.”

A gown? Maybe hanging out with my dad in our underwear wouldn’t be so bad after all? My regular doctor had never given me a gown before. This place was classy!

I grabbed the "gown" from the chair, excited to put on my royal robe. But after unfolding it I realized this was no gown. This was a large sleeveless napkin complete with some kind of plastic twist tie cinching string that didn't even make it around my whole waist.

Gown?! Yea right. I put it on and was suddenly aware of the fact that I was wearing a big paper mumu. What other "clothing" did they have? Toilet paper scarves? Newspaper pashminas?

So there we we, my father and I both standing there, like we were at a Fruit of the Loom testing facility. And I realized nobody looks cool standing around in their underwear. And that is what I struggle with.

I just want to look cool, or at least normal, when the Dermatologist walks in. I want to appear confident like I know what is going on in my life, but that becomes increasingly more difficult once the examination starts.

You are just hanging out in that sterile little room with that Lay Z Boy from hell. It’s a lot like laying in the dentist’s chair… except you have no clothes on… and the dentist is using his tools to poke you... all over your body.

So I use this time to ask all the questions about the spots on my body that make me nervous.

What’s this?
That’s a mole.
What about this?
That’s a blister.
And this?
That’s your belly button.

It’s all too much to handle. So since I have become an adult I have started going to the Dermatologist by myself. And on my last visit I made a commitment to myself. I am going to appear confident if it kills me!

I will not just wait in that room with nothing to my do. I will bring my book I will sit in the chair, gownless, and project an aura of sophistication and nobility.

When I was called into the tiny experiment room. I stripped down and refused the emperors new gown. I sat there, in my underwear awaiting the Derm.

But just sitting there I didn’t look confident, I still felt uncomfortable. What do people do when they are wearing clothes and feeling comfortable? So after a brief moment of thought, I went British dandy.

That’s right. I crossed my legs in the effeminate knee over knee fashion, with my book held out in front of me as though it were the most natural thing in the world. Like I just happened to be doing a Shakespearean reading in my underwear, and what’s this, a Dermatologist has walked in? Well welcome to the reading!

Did it work you ask? I don't really think so. I think my new Dermatologist thought I was slightly confused and possibly damaged in the head. In fact the look on her face was pretty much, "Oh Jesus." But hey I tried!

And besides, it could have been worse. My dad could have been there.