Now that I'm within two years of making it to 90, I've given up all thoughts about early retirement.
Phyllis said, "You can't quit yet because you've got to have something to retire from."
I resented the insinuation, of course. After many years slaving over a hot typewriter, I figured I deserved the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of my labors as much as the next guy. But I don't want to raise chinchillas, rabbits, exotic game birds, fishing worms, orchids or ginseng roots.
I don't want to bronze baby booties or war souvenirs, wedding memorabilia or other family heirlooms.
I don't want to invest in a mom-and-pop grocery store, a laundromat or one of 80 assorted national franchises bearing the name of some television star or sports personality.
I have learned to stuff birds, paint like Grandma Moses, decorate cakes, and address envelopes at home – but I don't want to!
I have answered dozens of classified ads which promised me fun and fortune. I got everything from smudgy mimeographed come-ons to fancy four-color brochures, all urging me to find happiness and a new source of income with each prospective gimmick. There haven't been such promises since Cleopatra told Mark Antony that the snake really wouldn't bite.
I conjured up so many potential ulcer producers in my various retirement ventures that Phyllis made me forget the whole thing.
It was a wise decision. I immediately felt relieved and unburdened like I always thought retirement should make you feel.
This column took on a new look, and I whispered a little prayer.
"Please, God," I said, "if you ever let me get that far just let me keep doing what I do now, and leave the mushrooms, the dull scissors and the taxidermy to somebody else who really needs a change."
And I'll keep doing it until they put me away.
© 2010 Robert F. Karolevitz