Stopping the real steal

April 16, 2022

Iced tea glass and sandaled foot on deck table, palms in rear.

Time, time time, see what’s become of me
While I looked around for my possibilities
I was so hard to please

- Paul Simon, A Hazy Shade of Winter

In Tony Hillerman’s spellbinding mystery “ A Thief of Time, “ the thief is one who loots artifacts, pieces of the past, from sacred Native American land. I respect the dead, especially since I expect to join them someday, but I wouldn’t mind if an enterprising gonif* heisted a few choice bits of my back pages.

Let’s start by unloading the hopeless hours I spent chasing softballs and soccer balls in gym. Better yet, take all three years of junior high, and I’ll throw in college chemistry! Don’t forget my misguided career moves, like the ones that landed me in a radio studio spinning Muzak on the midnight shift. Hangovers that could’ve sunk a Russian warship, speeding tickets, textbook bad dates, various social goofs and gaffes, bell-bottom pants, and sooooo much more. Grab it and go!

The real crime is theft of the present and future. It’s been a while since I launched my personal Great Resignation, aka “retirement,” and lately it’s been a battle to keep the golden years from turning to lead. Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I could swear my feet are full of the stuff.

I’m writing fiction, which I always wanted to try and hope y’all enjoy reading. I’m luckier than many of us because I haven’t had Covid or a financial crisis. But when you’re a high school senior, you graduate. What happens when you’re just a senior?

This conundrum gets worse when you don’t fit the mold. For me, life in a geezer theme park like The Villages, which the Trumpniks love, would be all nine circles of hell. Then there’s AARP, which acts as if we’re either 50-ish movie stars or Methuselahs who’ve missed out on everything modern since about 1985. Their mags carry ads like, “WOW! A Simple to Use Computer Designed Especially for Seniors!” I started using PCs in ’83, and those early machines were not simple.

I’ve concluded the only way to cope is to double down on boundaries. Lisa McCulloch, a writer who recently turned fifty, aptly calls this the get off my lawn phase of life, when we become territorial about our physical and emotional spaces.

This can be as easy as setting up a few palms to create a privacy shield on the deck, as shown in the photo. The electronic realm is another story. However, when I first laid hands on a computer in the antediluvian 80s I learned a crucial fact that still applies: there’s always an “Off” button. Take care and be safe.

*Yiddish for a thief or dishonest, disreputable person. Such a rich language.

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Writer, editor, ex-journalist, all-around communicator. Comfortable in real and fictional worlds. Always on the lookout for a great story.

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David Swan

David Swan

Writer, editor, ex-journalist, all-around communicator. Comfortable in real and fictional worlds. Always on the lookout for a great story.

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