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June 1, 2013

As Time Goes By: Looking at retirement options (FOR MEN ONLY)

The Daily Star

---- — This is the time of year when decisions are made concerning retirement. If so, you are reading this just in time and you have decided to leave the hamster wheel of life to be in more “sedate” climes. If you have been retired for many years, there may be still hope for you.

If you are a female reading this, I know that the heading FOR MEN ONLY is far too great a temptation for you. All I can say is “Shame on you.”

Men, if you have just retired, you must read the following very carefully. You are about to enter a brand-new part of your life. In labor terms it is called “negotiations.”

When you retire, the first thing you must ask for is a job description. Without a job description, you will never know where you stand. It will be like building a sand castle at the beach – it looks good until the first wave comes along and everything is gone.

The job description is essential because your wife (whom we will call management) will try to get you (labor) to do all the “little” jobs, which have accumulated over 40 years of marriage and work, in one week. In your initial management-labor negotiations, remember if all else fails you can play the religion card — even God rested on the seventh day. (We have it on good authority that he was probably playing golf.)

After you wake at 10 a.m. on your first day of retirement, smile and leap out of bed full of pep and vinegar and announce to management (wife): “Right after you make me breakfast, honey, and you wash the dishes, we’ll tackle all those jobs you want done.” Make sure that you appear to be very eager to help.

Management (wife) will hand you a list that has got to get done. Look over the list. There is probably something that needs painting. Announce that this will be your first “retiree” job.

Get out the ladders, the paint cans, her favorite screwdriver (wives have a tool box that has more neat gadgets than yours) and a stick to stir the paint. Open the cans while breaking the blade on her favorite screwdriver, and stir it up.

When you are finished, pick up the paint can and rush back into the house, shouting “Honey — honey, is this right color?” About halfway across her beautiful white ($41.95 per yard) Berber carpet, fake a stumble and dump the can of paint on the carpet. Shout out, “Don’t worry honey — no rush, it can wait. (Any color paint, even white, will suffice, but for a dramatic effect, midnight black works best.)

Take a roll of paper towels and spread the stain while pretending to mop up the mess. Smile as “management” comes running in, and as she clutches her heart, say to her, “See, I’ve almost got it cleaned up.”

At this point be prepared for screaming that might progress to advanced histrionics where she throws you out of the house. If you started “painting” early enough, you should surely have enough time for a few brewskies and the back nine at the golf club.

After weeks of forced vacation (a decision made by management), start again with the list of jobs needing to be done. Look for jobs that will require glass and a hammer, preferably one with a claw end.

Let’s assume the job is to hang a mirror that has been resting on the floor since Aunt Marge gave it to you as a wedding present. For 40 years it has given you a good look at your shoes and ankles. Announce to management, “Honey, after I hang this, you’ll be able to see your smiling beautiful face.” Do not be shocked if you hear a snort of derision.

While “management” is out of the room, bang the hammer on the floor or wall a couple of times. If you have drywall on the walls, take a good swing and hit the wall. You will either hit a stud, which will leave an indentation, or you will punch a hole in the wall. Perfection!

At this point, holler down the stairs, “Don’t worry honey, we can fix that up in no time.” Now take the hammer and smash the glass mirror, making as much noise as possible. (Don’t worry about seven years of bad luck; you have already served 40.)

In a loud voice say “OH!! OH!”

Once again you are banished from the kingdom to pay penance at the front and back nine.

One word of caution: Do not hit yourself in the head with the claw of the hammer or for that matter any part of the hammer.

Not knowing your individual situations, the rest I must leave to your imaginings and plots. I have every confidence that you will exceed my expectations. 

Hint: For men who are aged. you can start playing the “I’m getting old and forgetful” card.

In closing, it is understood that management will always get shafted by labor, as time goes by. Amen.

Henry Geerken is a three-time NYSUT award-winner writing humorous articles addressing retiree and senior citizen concerns. Geerken also writes for Sail-World, World Cruising Newsletter, regarding his many humorous sailing episodes through the years. He can be reached by email at ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at