The evening wasn't particularly stormy, but it was satisfactorily dark, and the clouds contributed not only shade but drizzle to the proceedings as we hauled out of the old house furnishings that clearly never could have been hauled in there in the first place; obviously, the furniture was brought to the vacant lot, and a house erected over it.

Somewhere around the fourth bookcase, W. (not his real initial) began wondering if all his youthful dreams and desires had somehow been overwhelmed by some more insidious process somewhere along the way, and that, if so, he had reached the final stage of his cruelly-usurped development: he had become an "old geezer".

W. being not much older than myself, I refrained from the suggestion that "old", in the context of geezerhood, was more or less a redundancy, although I did point out that the two of us, combined, had lived barely ninety years or so, and that this was a hell of a time to start to, er, geeze.

Just the same, as the 100-percent humidity started to wreak havoc on our tired joints, we came to the general realization that we weren't eighteen anymore, and maybe we should accept the fact that we can't do everything we did at eighteen. (The late George Burns, around his 90th year, claimed that he could do anything then that he could have done at eighteen — "which," he said, "shows you how pathetic I was at eighteen.")

Acceptance of this fact, though, suggests to me that we're a tad short of true geezerness just yet — we're still apologizing for failing to retain our physical selves of decades ago, as though we had fallen short of the Jack LaLanne standard, and one thing geezers don't do is apologize for anything. Intrinsic to geezerhood, I contend, is the insistence that others look beyond our physical imperfections to the obvious perfection of our spiritual selves, honed and polished during an age when superiority like ours was the rule rather than the exception. A naysayer or two might point out that this is statistically about as likely as Lake Wobegon's children all being above average, but a geezer must call him down on his cynicism and smartassedness, or he's not living up to the geezer ideal.

The emblem of the TV series Home Improvement was stenciled onto W.'s shirt, which suggests one other finding: Geezerdom, like Tool Time and the prostate clinic, is primarily a male venue — there are few extant records of true geezesses. Were I sufficiently pagan in orientation, I would propose that this is because woman, who endures her own version of the cycle of the seasons every damned month for thirty or forty years, sees changes in herself as simply being in tune with the world as she knows it, a notion utterly foreign to man. Of course, if I do propose this, the geezers of the patriarchy will read me out of my half of the species and confiscate the family jewels, and I have enough trouble getting dates without the complications of sexual reassignment surgery, so whatever the merits of this idea, you didn't read it here.

The Vent

11 August 1996

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 Copyright © 1996 by Charles G. Hill