As An Old Person, I Obviously Spend My Life Being Outraged!


The go-to emotion among a lot of older people is outrage. They work hard all their lives, retire and then have their first chance to sit back and observe how the world is going — and they’re outraged.

Not me. I’ve always been outraged! I simply cannot believe how people behave; how much things cost; how there are never enough parking spaces! (Obviously, exclamation points are extremely important to me.)

When I was younger, I was a vital cog in this fast-spinning world of business, industry, agriculture, commerce, education, communication, housing, finance and (in my case) parks and recreation. I put together dozens of classes, camps and special events each year, all designed to make Wellington look good enough to lure people into buying homes west of Military Trail. (Sounds unbelievable now, but that was a real problem 40 years ago… “What self-respecting Floridian would want to live so far from the beach? Would bringing in polo matches help?”)

But now that I am “retired” and choose to spend my days puttering around behind the counter of an antiques shop while wondering how long until my own stuff becomes inventory, I have time to think. And to ponder. And to make my blood pressure spike up and down, almost at will.

Are computers actually helping or are they methodically messing up all the world’s systems?

Is the postal service really going under or just conducting business as usual?

Is it a communist plot against me that Hollywood never releases a good movie when I want to see one?

And, finally — above all else — how are the grandchildren doing?

This is the retiree version of “Squirrel!” that is so distracting to dogs. “Grandkids!” Huh? Where? What was I just talking about?

Actually, the grandkids are doing quite well, thank you for asking. Ten-year-old Orion brought his math score up two full grades (with a new teacher, but I outrageously digress) and 8-year-old Tess aced everything, top of her class, yada yada yada.

Last weekend, they entered the scouts’ pinewood derby, and Orion placed second in a field of 63 while Tess won six out of seven races in the siblings category. (She would’ve won seven but got distracted by the snack bar).

So everything is going swimmingly.

At least, it was.

Then, this afternoon, I get the following text from my daughter, “Just got a call from the school nurse because Tess’s stomach is upset. I was nervous about this until the child told me that she had just ‘won’ the jalapeño-eating contest by having 15 slices.”

Upon reading this, I was understandably… outraged! I furiously typed back, “Who sponsors a jalapeño-eating contest at an elementary school?!!!”

The reply? “Tess does.”

Of course she does. She’s eight.