I went to a football game the other day and took a seat in the appropriate part of the press box. You know, not to be considered one of the working class. One by one the covering types came lumbering in, and one by one, each said, “I thought you retired?”
Of course, this came from younger fellows, mere lads by my age standard. “I just retired, I didn’t quit,” I replied most of the time. And to one or two who didn’t exercise my good nature, I worked in a few juicy expletives.
“Look, just because I’m retired doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good ball game, or even a tennis match. Just excuse me from wrestling. In fact, I can enjoy a good football game even more because I don’t have to fret about making a deadline, or worrying about a cranky computer, or scurrying to and from press conferences, up and down stadium steps, then waiting until the coach gets into his interview mood.”
I guess there is a style to being retired. Maybe you’re supposed to wear a necktie, which I didn’t. Or an old fedora, which I don’t own. I even had a little notebook in which I scribbled a few items—which I haven’t used yet. Mainly, it was about the insane stuff they spew out over the defenseless crowd at football games these days. Deafening, screeching roars, and at times, some college kids—I guess they went to college—leaping through the big screen inviting the nice fans to join them in their idiocy.
That’s one advantage that working gives you. You’re busy, or look like you are, and you haven’t time to indulge in such interruptions. Once the game starts, though, you feel naked. Everybody about you is pounding away, or some even scribbling, while play is on, and you’re sitting there just looking. Staring. Wondering what that call was about and too shy to ask the guy next door.
To tell the truth, I left early. It wasn’t to beat the traffic, it was to go in search of my senses. I’ll probably get the hang of this down the road, but right now I’m still in the kindergarten stage.
It doesn’t come easy. Retiring is not for the elderly. It’s for the young who have nothing else to do but go to the game with kids and tell them all about the players, and how it’s played. No wonder so many men retire in their late 50’s or early grandfatherhood. I should have thought of that earlier. Too late now.