Old Geezers Out to Lunch

Old Geezers Out to Lunch
The Geezers Emeritus through history: The Mathematician™, Dr. Golf™, The Professor™, and Mercurious™

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Why I Am Optimistic

"Nothing can be changed until you first recognize it."   -- James Baldwin.

The ascension of Donald Trump and his cohorts into the White House has certainly discouraged me much of the time and even depressed me on frequent occasions. Yet I have also been aware of a paradoxical feeling of optimism that occurs at rare fleeting moments. The odd thing about this is that the optimism has not been a matter of defiance—it's not an optimism I somehow muster in spite of the Trumpites.  No, the fact that we are now confronted with Donald Trump and his awful tribe is the very reason I'm optimistic.

Up to now, I haven't really understood exactly what this was about. On the face of things, there is precious little to be happy about when you look at the state of the nation.  But I now realized that we are are in the process of learning something valuable about ourselves as a nation because of Donald Trump. It's a little like learning that that awful itch in the middle of your back is not an allergy but is actually shingles. The recognition feels awful at first, but then you start strategizing on how to deal with it. 

We are beginning four years in which Donald Trump—with his lips and jaws being moved by Steve Bannon's hand and arm firmly stuffed up the President's rump—will be speaking in ways that will graphically show us the very worst things about our culture and prejudices. These are realities which America has really wanted to pretend did not exist, but will now confront in unavoidable ways. 

We are learning that there is a substantial part of America that hates the poor and the sick. This is not hyperbole in any way. Much of the current rhetoric is implying pretty openly now that if you are reach and healthy, it is because God likes you, and if you are poor or sick, it is your own fault. There is a decided strain of Manifest Destiny theory at work now in America. We genuinely believe that America should win, and the implication of this is that the rest of the world is expected to lose. This really is who we are.

Fully half of America does not believe in religious freedom or tolerance. We don't.  We don't want Muslims to be among us, and we don't really care much for Jewish people, either. We really want to be a Christian nation, and as a nation we have elected a President who pays lip service to what we secretly wanted to hear all along. This is really who we are.

America hates brown and black people. We will begin by barring and expelling Muslims from a few countries, and we'll build some kind of barb-wire fence to the south, but once this is successfully accomplished, it's a quick step to closing the doors on those pesky Nigerians and Congolese and Koreans. It is not a matter of feeling safe or wanting to protect jobs.  We simply don't like anyone non-white or non-Christian. This is really who we are.

America places no particular value on education. The President who speaks for us wants a Secretary of Education who does not believe in public education.  Despite our pretense at valuing education, many of us don't believe in evolution and don't believe pollution has any effect on climate despite scientific evidence. This is who we are. 

We don't like women very much. We are afraid and threatened by them, and, like our President, we would like them to "dress like women," and do what men tell them to do. This is not a purely male thing, really, because a great many voting women don't like themselves or their fellow women very much either, and are relieved that the President is setting rules of behavior for them. This is who we are. 

A lot of these truths have been present all along, but up to now we've uneasily pretended that we are better people than that. No more can we hide; we are quickly learning who we are as a nation, and the necessary lessons will be some unpleasant ones. This is the reason for my optimism, and I assure you that I do not say this with any sarcasm at all. Over the next four years, it will be very hard to avoid self-awareness about who we are as a nation, because we have a President who vocalizes our worst impulses. Self awareness is always a good thing. 

A local newspaper recently interviewed some small-town Minnesotans, and one woman in a little community of 10,000 people confessed that while she had voted for Trump largely because of nervousness about Somalis in Minnesota, she was now surprised about how bad she now felt about herself when the refugee ban went into effect. 

I was very encouraged when I read this article. The next four years will see a lot of us feeling bad about ourselves as we recognize things about ourselves through the example of our President. We will not be able to pretend that Donald Trump and Steve Bannon are "other." They speak for us. They are us.  This will prove to be a very good thing. Our President and his staff will be showing us our ignorance,  our prejudices, our intolerance, all our dirty little secrets, and I genuinely believe that learning these things about ourselves will only be a good thing in the long run. 

You cannot cure a horrible disease until you recognize you have it. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Citizens of 4F: Feb. 2 2017

 I don’t ride the bus downtown all that often anymore. I’m only asked to be at the downtown office once each week, and with my emeritus status nobody makes an issue of it if I decide to skip even that visit and choose instead to work from my cozy home office on Thursdays. And when I do go downtown, for the last few months I’ve tended to drive. Initially this was out of deference to a surgically repaired knee that allowed me to park in front of the building for free, but then it became habit. Habit is what often happens if you don’t carefully consider your choices.

But the knee is nearly healed now, and I’ve vowed to walk the six miles home after work today, so the #4 bus is where I am this early morning before dawn.

Things change quickly when you don’t pay close attention, and I’m startled this morning by how many different faces are on the bus this morning. From my elevated seat midway back in the big electric hybrid bus, I find myself studying one of the unfamiliar faces, Margret, who sits as close to the front as she can. Margret bears a passing resemblance to Stockard Channing from the era of the movie “Grease. ” She has the same short dark hair and similar features to Ms. Channing. In age though, Margret is pretty close to Stockard Channing’s current age, which makes the very dark hair a bit out of place and artificial.

Margret talks steadily to the bus driver, and from nature of the conversation I know that they are new acquaintances, since the dialogue speaks to basics about their families, their jobs. If they had known each other even a few days, some of these questions and answers wouldn’t need to be discussed. The pitch of Margret’s voice is such that I can hear her clearly. I cannot hear the bus driver at all, but can get the gist of the conversation just from Margret’s questions and answers. I learn, for example, that Margret cannot tolerate caffeine any longer, and that her favorite vacation spot is Florida. She has three grown children, only one of which really likes her. Her husband passed away three years ago, and she can’t believe it’s been that long. Seems like last week that he passed.

People like Margret fascinate me and make me a little jealous. She is one of those people, as is my wife, who thrives on social communion. People like this seek interaction with people, the more people the better. In moments of discouragement or dejection, these folks gain energy from simple social contact with many people. For others of us, though, rejuvenation is found in solitude. Though I’m not a traditionally religious fellow, it is when I’m in utter solitude in a natural setting—deep in a woods or off in a prairie meadow—that I feel the presence of the gods. It’s not that I believe with Jean Paul Sartre that “hell is other people,” exactly—I very much enjoy being with a few close friends.  But a crowd of people surely isn’t heaven for me. Walking alone in the mountains, though, is indeed nirvana. I do envy Margret, though. Life would be easier, I think, if crowds of people invigorated you. 

It is still completely dark in this early morning hour, and as the bus passes Bryant Park, strings of white LED lights in the skeletal trees reflect down into the smooth surface of a skating rink. The reflection in the ice looks like strings of translucent pearls. A lone young man who is wearing hockey-style skates sails noiselessly around the ice, doing maneuvers that seem more like figure skating than hockey moves. I’m charmed by the idea of this young fellow choosing to go out for a skate at 6:45 am in the morning. It is a very Minnesotan thing to do.

As the bus begins to fill up, the conversation between Margret and the bus driver begins to quiet down. Whether this is because they have exhausted the conversational topics appropriate between strangers, or because they don’t want to disturb the now-larger group of passengers, is unclear. Politeness would be a likely reason, because this, too, is a very Minnesotan virtue.

I recognize very few of the passengers today, but near Lake Street, the bus is boarded by Frank, whom I do recognize. Frank is a 70-something black man wearing a cowboy hat and western-style suede jacket covering a white chef’s uniform. It’s never been clear to me which downtown restaurant he works at, though it has to be one that serves breakfast. Frank pats each of the passengers in the first few seats at the front of the bus—the two facing rows that traditionally has been the home of the passengers who like to chat amiably across the aisle in the mornings. Further back in the bus, the passengers tend to be those who spend the time scrolling on their smart phones or reading the newspaper. Or those whose recreation is studying the other passengers and imagining their lives.

Although the up-front passenger greet Frank warmly, after he sits down Frank quickly fades into silence. Though a friendly and social man, I’ve never seen him engage in a lot of chit-chat in the morning. He always seems quite comfortable to be alone with his thoughts.

As we near Franklin Avenue, I see a Victorian-style home in which the residents have placed one of those programmable electric signs in the front picture window—one of those that can be programmed to flash verbal messages. This one flashes a two-line message: “Nasty Women,”  “Live Here,” it says repeatedly in red lights arranged in small dots. I reflect on my good fortune to live in a city where the liberalism is strident and sometimes slightly angry. For example, the very next day after Donald Trump’s edict regarding restricting entry to the U.S. by Muslims, more than 5,000 people spontaneously appeared in front of the Federal building in downtown Minneapolis in protest. Nearly 100,000 appeared during the women’s march after the presidential inauguration. I very much like this quality of my city.

The sky has pinkened by the time I step off the bus at the corner of Hennepin Avenue and Fourth Street in downtown Minneapolis. I am slightly sad to be leaving the bus, and I think that someday when I have transitioned into full-time retirement, I shall sometimes ride the bus in the pre-dawn hours. Just for the fun of it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A 2:00 a.m. Musing

When I was a younger man, I tried lived according to a belief that went something like this:

“I am the author of my own experience.”

It is not an uncommon belief for people in the first half or two-thirds of life, and is probably a necessary one. Most people have this sense, and sometimes hold it to be true for the duration.  Who knows—it might even be the correct equation. Some people would insist this it is so, and I am in no real position to say they are wrong.

But as I enter what is almost certainly the third trimester of life, I become aware of another possibility. What if:

The infinite and wonderful universe, though some unspoken intent, has caused a constellation of unique experiences to come together, bonded by a mysterious gravity of individual awareness. That single constellation is what I’ve conveniently thought of as “me.”

So in my approaching old age, I’ve begun to think the reality might be different, that “I” am not the author of my experience at all, but on the contrary, am authored by the experiences and awareness gifted to me by the universe, by God. Perhaps even my willfulness—which has caused me some pride but also some heartache--is really just the play of natural laws moving within that one little constellation of experience I have labeled “me”.

Strangely, this idea does not seem to reduce me at all; on the contrary, it feels like freedom.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

And So it Goes (November 15, 2016)

The girl is on a roll. We welcome back Sehr Wenig for an encore. May there be many more to follow—the editor

At the beach Sunday morning, a man stood with his back to the ocean, FaceTiming with family. "I love you," he said again and again in heavily accented English and the high, tight voice people use with children. "Goodbye. Goodbye. I love you. See you soon," he said.

I made my way past this handsome man wearing $1200 black leather Berluti tennis shoes and a Prada jacket, with a yarmulke somehow attached to a large bald spot.

When I passed him again on my way back up the beach, the man pointed to my nearly-full trash bag and asked, "Why are you doing that?" 

"I'm tired of being sad about the election and need to do something positive."

"You’re sad about the election?"

"Yes. Very."

"Why? There’s hope in America again!"

"Hope?" Bagnell Dam burst inside my chest. "I had breast cancer this year. If they repeal Obamacare and allow insurance companies to refuse coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, I will be uninsurable if I lose my job. And it's not just me. Twenty million will lose health care entirely. Millions more will be vulnerable. That's not hope. And health care is just one issue. Hundreds of other issues will hurt millions of others."

"Sorry," he said in a voice that dripped with not-at-all-sorry.

I moved down the beach, filling yet another bag with trash and wondering why a wealthy man—who clearly loves his family and is devout enough to cover his head out of respect for God—is not compassionate enough to care about people whose lives may be damaged by Trump’s presidency. 

A few hours later, Donald Trump appointed Steve Bannon—a man whose “news” organization publishes a steady stream of anti-Semitic and white nationalist rhetoric—his “Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor.” 

And so it goes.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

And So it Goes (November 13, 2016)

The editors are pleased to welcome back our favorite female Geezer, Sehr Wenig. 

As a Minnesota Geezer lost in LaLa Land, I go to the beach nearly every weekend.

When I went to the beach a few weeks ago, a taco truck was parked on the PCH, its owner clearly living there. This morning two more food trucks had joined the sad parade. As it happens, these particular trucks come to the one-way street outside our office every day, feeding streams of computer engineers and movie marketers and media types. Imagine catering to privilege every day and then sleeping on the cold metal floor of a make-shift kitchen every night so you can get up and do it again.

As usual, a homeless black man slept in a blue sleeping bag, huddled against the seawall. Last week his drug paraphernalia was nestled in a toddler’s hiking boot, just within reach. This week the little hiking boot was nowhere to be seen.

Down on the beach, a 30-ish Mexican man and his 8- or 9-year-old son threw stones into the water, laughing at good throws and groaning at bad ones.

A 40-ish woman sat on a rock, playing a guitar. The man wrapped around her from behind corrected her fingering now and then as she learned a new song. 

The woman's long, mousy brown hair was tucked into a newsboy cap. The edges of a rip in the sleeve of her whiskey-colored leather jacket fluttered in the breeze as she strummed, and she tapped the worn-through toes of Stuart Weitzman boots that probably cost a thousand dollars, long ago and far away.

Eventually, the man took the guitar and began to play softly. "F*ck you," she cried. "You're so much better than I am. It's not fair!"

"No, baby. Not better. Just been playing longer," he crooned.

"You make me so f*ck'n mad with the way you play."

Now dancing to the man’s tune, the bone-thin woman smiled broadly. The pockmarks on her face glowed in the sun -- a rosy contrast to the blackened edges of every tooth.

"You can see my human-icity on my face," she said. "You like that word? Human-icity." 

"Humanity," the man murmured. 

"I like my word better," she replied.

I couldn't hear his response, but it made her wild.

"I asked you never to mention her. Never speak her name in my presence," she shouted. "I beat her up, you know. Beat her ass in the CVS parking lot. Knocked her off her bike and kicked the shit out of her."

"How dare she tell people I set her husband on fire. I've never set anyone on fire in my life. Except myself."

The tide rolled in, accompanied by the giant sucking sound of water rushing in and out at the same time. 

I’ve been distraught since the election, filled with fear and rage toward racism and misogyny and Islamophobia. I’m still outraged but have to admit things looked ever-so-slightly different from this vantage point.

If this woman were my daughter or my sister or my mother and IF I believed Trump's wall would “seal our borders” to keep drugs out of our country, it’s possible I might have voted for him. It’s even remotely possible I would have chanted, "Build that wall," along with the crowd -- not as a way of throwing stones at people like the young father and his son, but out of desperation and misguided belief this "strong man" could save a woman I loved. 

But I do not believe Trump is strong, and I do not believe he will save anyone. Or that he even cares to try. 

Before leaving the beach, I filled a trash bag with bottle caps and empty beer bottles and chip sacks. On the way back up the sand ramp, I noticed someone had placed a bag of groceries on top of the rock that shelters the homeless man.

And so it goes.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A LIberal Geezer Emerges from a Funk.....

I'm a long veteran of mindful exploration, and when the hobby manages to stay this side of narcissistic navel-gazing, I've learned a thing or two about the workings of that oddity called the Mind of Mercurious.

One thing I'm aware of is that the old noggin has an interesting way of concocting its own stories. The stories it hatches sometimes ask to be called "truth," but close examination shows that pretty much every story contains a good measure of fictional story-telling. When in a buouyant, jubilant mood, deep looking reveals an inner story that is preposterously upbeat; and when in a melancholy mood, you'll often find an inner story with a rather dismal plot line.

There is no right or wrong to this, and I'd be the last to suggest that there is some kind of "power of positive thinking" dumb-ass self-help advice to be had here. It's just the way it is: the mind tells stories, and sometimes those stories are bright and happy, and sometimes they are dour and discouraging or frightening. Period.

Since Tuesday evening, I've been in as discouraged a mood as I can ever recall, a melancholy bordering on clinical depression. The catalyst, of course, is the election of the Orange Ogre. The depth of this melancholy has puzzled me a little, since incompetence in public officials is nothing new in the world, and in my lifetime I've rolled with Richard Nixon, agonized over Johnson, lamented over Carter, fumed over Reagan, laughed at W.

So why, I wondered, is Donald Trump's election hitting me so goddamn hard?

I've begun to see the reason in just the last day or so. The inner story I've been telling myself has a plot synopsis something like this:  "Fifty-nine million of my neighbors and coworkers and distant family members voted for the Orange Oaf because they like his racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, lying bullshit. My nation is full of bad human beings who don't give shit about anybody but themselves."

That's enough to depress anybody, I suppose, especially if you have believed that people are basically good. It's like waking up and discovering that your father was actually Hitler.

But in the last day or so, I've come to understand that while Trump is indeed a lousy waste of oxygen, quite a lot of his non-deplorable voters were acting on another inner story, the opening lines of which went something like this:  "Fuck Washington. My kids are drinking poisoned water, my faucets are blowing methane gas from frack explosions, and the goddamn bankers get richer while I'm working at Walmart for $7.00 an hour and can't afford health insurance."

The reality is that for a good chunk of America, Washington—both Democratic and Republican Washington—has betrayed them, again and again. They voted Trump because he was the one guy who didn't represent Washington, and they voted for him for the same reason Bernie Sanders gave Hillary a hard time, and for the same reason that Trump beat all those polished Republicans in the primaries. He was different. The others were all the same. And this time, anyway, being different was more important that being good or even decent. Hillary is a far better human being than Donald Trump, but she is life-long politician, and middle America knows where that story leads.

Pretty sure I'm right about this, because now that we're finally listening to those middle Americans, what we're hearing is that a whole bunch of Obama voters from 2012 voted for Trump this time; that a number of Bernie voters ended up casting their lot with Trump. In a race this close, that's the ballgame, folks. A Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren would very likely have won Ohio, Pennyslvania, Michigan, Wisconsin—and then my inner story looks much different.

So I offer something of an apology to the young Democrats, among them my daughter and some offspring of other Geezers. We had it wrong. I'm not sure if Bernie Sanders was the guy, but it needed to be somebody outside the box. If I had it to do over again, I would have hoped for Elizabeth Warren, who is as feisty as Bernie Sanders without being mean, who REALLY would take it to the banks and Wall Street, and who is scary smart. If the young democrats are shrewd enough to chuck the old school once and for all and nominate a revolutionary next time,  Orange Otis will be out on the streets in four years.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Slice of Geezer Life

This geezer is an early riser. 4:00 am often finds him comfortably awake in bed, at which time he meditates quietly for a bit of time, until he hears the first jet airline landing at the airport five miles down the road. Generally the airport traffic is kept to a minimum in the six to eight core hours of the night, and the sound of the first landing plane in the distance announces that it is approaching 5:00 am. The weather can usually be determined with good accuracy merely by listening to the sounds of the air traffic. The geezer always knows if it is cloudy or clear, just from the sound of the jet engines in the far distance.

A quick shower, and the geezer brings in the newspapers, makes a cup of coffee and heads up to his small comfortable office upstairs. His time will be his until 7:00 am, and this first magical hour or two in predawn darkness will be spent checking emails to see if there are friends or business colleagues to respond to, reading the newspapers, and sipping the first cup of morning coffee. A year ago, the geezer would already be on the way to the bus stop to start a work day that generally consumed 12 hours of the day, 60 hours of the week.

A man's leather recliner from Hom furniture is his castle. 
If the papers and personal emails are concluded, the geezer now sometimes turns to one of the small freelance jobs that may await. They are tremendously easy for him, even fun, because they lean on 30 years of experience in home improvement and gardening subjects, and all he does here is simply review on-line articles young writers have written, add or correct small details that he knows implicitly from years of experience, then publish them. He has come to marvel a little at the ingenuity of some of these young writers, so influenced by the "Real Simple" and "maker" mentality of the day. The money isn't the point; it is fun, almost recreational work. If there remains anything not done, he'll do it easily later in the day while watching the World Series on television. This part of the day will continue until 7:00 am, no later.

At 7:00 sharp he turns to the real work, usually deep substantive editing of some book manuscript on a gardening, home DIY, or pop culture subject. This work is salaried, done for the same company for which the geezer served as a VP for many years. But it is a return to the joyful work of making words communicate helpful information to people who want to know how to do things. Years ago, he gravitated to this business because of the magic of manipulating mere symbols into books that had meaning and rhythm and purpose, and now he has returned to that world after a long pressure-filled sojourn into the corporate level of publishing.

At 9:00 am or so, after two or three hours of fully absorbed and entertaining work, he takes his only break of the morning, usually to walk downstairs and refill his coffee and maybe grab a piece of fruit for breakfast. Occasionally this break is spent calling an old friend in California, who is also an early riser and will be up and alert. She has been struggling, and now recovering, from breast cancer for the last year. She thinks that her geezer friend calls as an act of charitable support, but in reality she is a true geezer in her own right, and the call is medicinal for him. He enjoys the company of another skilled word person and longtime friend, and he finds the wit of the conversation helpful to his editing and writing, and to his soul.  Occasionally, when they become too engrossed in discussing some book or philosophical concept, the geezer will find he's gone past the 20 minute break he's allowed himself. If so, he'll make a mental note to extend his workday just a little.

Even an extended workday, though, rarely extends past 2:00 pm at the latest, since he is now contractually obligated for merely 30 hours a week. So at 1:00 or 2:00 pm, his work day is over, and he emerges from his morning of productive solitude. After a quick lunch, he then sometimes turns to whatever small home projects may be going on at the moment, often tackling them together with his bride. A number of little home improvements projects are always underway, and a couple of hours will be spent pursuing them. This time of year, it is often some outdoor work preparing the extensive gardens for winter. This too, is purely enjoyable work. In fact, at the end of the day, the geezer often reflects that the day hasn't included any work at all, since it has all seemed like recreation, like one big hobby.

At late afternoon, the geezer sends his aging body on to some kind of therapeutic physical activity—an hour at the gym exercising a bad knee on a stationary bike, or an hour in the pool swimming, or an hour or two of a good outdoor walk at one of the many parks in the area. Because all of this is meditative for him, none of it ever feels like a duty or therapy.

Soon to follow will be dinner with his bride,  who has spent much of her day pursuing her own charity endeavors and work-for-pay assignments. These days, dinner is an informal affair. Relieved of the daily meal preparation for four people in a family,  the geezer pair now may take a car ride or walk to pick up a variety of tasty little salads from a local deli counter, or may order Chinese takeout, or they make some kind of little meal, often from kale and tomatoes and  eggplants still growing outside in a garden that has not yet succumbed to frost. On some days, the geezers don't formally eat at all, but kind of graze from tidbits of nice little dinners left over from earlier days. The family discussion is of what's happened during the day, what the grown kids are doing, what mutual friends are up to, who has called that day or who needs to be called, discussion of social engagements pending that week, or drawing attention to whatever has been happening in the world, politically or culturally. Mutual outrage and ridicule directed at Mr. Trump is often heard.

After dinner, a small glass of good Scotch may appear on the end table, a fire may appear in the fireplace, and the geezer browses the cable news networks for political insight, or may go back to the finish the wonderfully skillful news stories that pack the New York Times newspaper that was begun this morning. Now there is sometimes a television drama or two to watch, but these days most of the programs are painfully boring to the geezer, and although his bride has a few programs that she follows, more often the geezer himself turns to one of six to ten books on the end table. At this moment, there are books of psychology, buddhism, poetry, Taoism, eroticism, politics, hard-boiled crime fiction and pop music biography to be found in the stack. The eroticism has been cleverly turned so spine lettering faces the wall; the geezer is a bit shy about certain proclivities.

At some time in the evening, the geezer usually opens a laptop computer play to take his turn in an online game underway with old, dear friends living around the country. Very often there is a keyboard chat exchange while this is underway, and sometimes when all the geezers find themselves online at the same time, the entire evening is spent in mutual insults or in discussing some political issue of the day with frantically typing fingers and abrupt and frequent audible laughter. Once this game sees its nightly play, the Geezer usually checks in on one or more online scrabble games underway, one with his grown daughter, and one or more with other friends. Sometimes here, too, there is a chat exchange or two (or 200) that ensue.

Other evenings often find the geezer answering text messages or dialoguing by email with other friends. Sometimes, even, the geezer participates in The Facebook or The Twitter, where he has a whopping 35 Friends and follows a massive number (12) of Twits. Make no mistake, he is a thoroughly modern geezer.

One or two nights during the week may find the geezer and his bride out and about in some kind of social activity, or at a restaurant, or just walking the neighborhood. It is rare that you find them in actual partying, though it sometimes happens. At this comfortable stage, good socializing may well be taking in a concert at the park bandshell, or taking advantage of 5-buck movie night with senior discount at the local film theater. Sitting quietly in a dark theater with other movie watchers has always left the geezer with an inexplicable sense of archetypal communion. He and his wife spend more time in theaters than the pope spends in church.

10:00 pm usually sees the geezer watching The Daily Show, or making a last pass through CNN and MSNBC, or checking in on the enemy at FoxNews. The glass of Scotch has been sipped to extinction over the course of the evening, and the fireplace embers are nearly faded. More often than not, the Geezer will be asleep by 10:30 or 11:00, and while this seems very early to retire, it should be remembered that he will be awake in 5 or 6 hours.

The geezer likes his life beyond all measure.