Old Geezers Out to Lunch

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

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Call me Sir

This is not me. Yet. 
Somewhere along the path into my advancing geezerhood, I became a "sir."

It is a puzzling transition, and I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment when it occurred. My qualifications as a dignified professional are tenuous at best, and in the years up until now my relatively disheveled and haphazard way of being in the world hasn't made me a natural "sir", even in the eye of waiters and other service workers. High end doctors and lawyers get addressed as sir. I've always been far more anonymous in the world than that. If strangers addressed me at all, it was very rarely as "sir." Sometimes I'd get a "mister", but rarely anything more deferential than that.  But in the last few years something has changed.

Strangers now frequently address me as "sir" during routine social interactions, even though nothing particularly has changed in my social presentation to the world. I mean, it's not like I started wearing top-hats and wing-tip shoes. The circumstances are telling and are evidence that, indeed, I am now firmly entrenched in the geezer demographic.

"Sir, you dropped your glove on the street."  (A teenage boy crossing the street after me.) "Sir, you've dropped the other one now.  And your scarf is on the ground, too." (Clumsy absent-mindedness is a central feature of my geezerhood.")

"Sir, your zipper is open"  (I quickly look down at the front of my my trousers, but the young fellow then laughs and says that he was referring to the zipper on my shoulder pack, where my passport and expensive laptop are hanging out for the world to see.)

"Have a good day, sir."  (This from the bus driver as I disembark at my office stop. I'm the only one who gets this treatment, and it's likely because, in my old-school background, I routinely thank the bus driver for the ride every day. This is not protocol for anyone younger than geezer age, I've noticed.)

"Would you like to take this seat, sir?  You look tired."  (This from a pretty young woman on the bus. This was particularly surprising, since I was raised in a manner that requires men to abandon seats to women, not the other way around.  To have a young professional woman offer me her seat made me feel my weary geezerhood like nothing else.)

"Sorry for the error on your tab, sir. Yes, you had only four shots of Scotch, not five."  (Certainly the fact that I now pay attention both to consumption of spirits and the accuracy of my bar tabs is a sympton of geezerhood.)

"What did you want to talk about, sir.  Did I do something wrong?"  (From a young editor—all of whom seem fretful that older supervisors are there to scold, rather than just chip in their $5 for the March Madness basketball wagering pool.)

In any case, I've now reached that stage where "buddy," "pal", and "dumb-ass" and all the other appellations once heard from strangers have now been replaced more often than not by "sir."

And when "sir" begins, can "take it easy, old fella" be far behind?



  1. I've been noticing more "Sir"s aimed my direction, too, although I think "Sir" and "Ma'am" are just more common here in the South. At least that's what I keep telling myself. :)


  2. I know exactly what you are feeling and like you, I have no idea exactly when it happened. It's probably a cumulative thing involving old skin, gray hair, bushy eyebrows and bifocals. Speaking only of myself, of course...

  3. Sir is ok, sometimes even a genuine statement of respect. It is that look, a dismissive gaze past or through from the, oh so busy and phone attached young turks, that brings a hint of the fire of resentment to the fore. But then I let it go, thinking-OK studs and young pretty fems, enjoy it now, because your time is coming.

  4. I get, "Get outta my way pops!" A lot...is that bad?

  5. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to use a beloved Geo. Carlin quote, apropos to my age: "I'm sixty-three now, but that's just 17 Celsius."

  6. I remember my first "sirring" with crystal clarity. I was on an elevated subway platform in Boston.

    (Yes, I know "elevated subway" is an oxymoron, but that's what it was.)

    I was smoking a cigarette.

    (It was allowed in those days. It wasn't any more of an intelligent option then than now, but it was allowed.)

    I was wearing a somewhat tight black t-shirt, tight jeans with a hole in the knee, and black sneakers.

    (I was in a band. I was about thirty.)

    I thought I looked pretty cool. I was eying a lovely young thing in a short skirt on the opposite platform. A teenager came up to me and said, "Excuse me, sir. Do you have an extra cigarette?"

    Sir? Sir?!? I slumped. I felt the muscles in my stomach relax. My belly drooped below my belt line. My hair receded another inch. The lovely girl on the opposite platform gave me a look that made me know I was a dirty old man.

    I gave the kid a cigarette. He said, "Thank you, sir!", and walked away without a care in the world and with no idea of how much havoc he had wreaked upon my psyche. And that was the last time I was ever young...

  7. I always use sir and ma'am when addressing people and some people don't like it haha. It's jus the way I was raised though.