Sunday, October 29, 2006

The inheritance that hinders retirement

Before I retired I was nothing like my father. I didn't have the same confidence, arrogance or skill set. I couldn't keep a neat desk, administer a university or understand superconductivity. Now that I am retired, I have become my father. The one I had after he retired. It's frigging scary.
I'm happy doing nothing but sitting in front of a TV while reading a book, just the way my dad did until the day he died. Like him, I enjoy going out in the morning for coffee to prepare for a hard day of reading, warming up with a New York Times and maybe a Wall Street Journal. I check the stock market to see if the nation is still financially alive, something neither of us ever did when we worked in different sectors of the nation's economy. I lust after fancy cars even though I really have nowhere to drive anymore. Unlike my dad, I don't buy those cars because I don't have as much money as he had.
Actually, I could have bought a Beemer instead of a Suburbaru, but my wife has a magical way of exercising vetoes. Debby merely invokes my dad's name, ""You're becoming Bob."
That straightens me right up. Fortunately, I have a few ways to assure myself that I haven't become a replicant of retired Bob. That is, I'll think of a few, and I do have time.
Bob never had a blog, that's one.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Small world made smaller

"Pluto is dead," said a guy at Caltech. By astronomers' vote, it's no longer a planet, but a dwarf planet. And, we suppose, Mickey's pet is now a dwarf dog, making eight dwarves in the Disney firmament, which doesn't seem right. I just like the phrase "Pluto demoted," which appeared in headlines across the nation after the astronomers' referendum.
Man, do I know how that little planet feels. After a quarter of a century as a columnist filling blank space at the furthest reaches of American journalism (the joke theme-park towns of Orlando and San Francisco), I was essentially fired. Well, I managed to get a buy-out, which in journalism is like being paid to get in one of the Titanic's lifeboats.
So no bitterness, not all the time anyway. I was given the opportunity to enjoy retirement before 60 — and write about it as a dwarf columnist.
That's what a blogger is, right?