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My Brawling Days Are Done, or Are They?


You get old, and you get mellow, and after a while, you start thinking like an old man, which is exactly who you are. You become a kinder person, you overlook people’s flaws, and you start mistaking that for wisdom. When you look back at your younger days, you begin to think what a jerk “that guy” was.

So you move to a 55-years-old and up retirement community for “active seniors” and you settle in. Then one day, you and your wife go to breakfast at the Sandwedge, which is the cutesy name for the little coffee shop at the golf course. And while you are eating your bacon and eggs and drinking your coffee, you see an old guy with a dead snake, going over to a table where four old ladies are chatting among themselves. The old man interrupts their conversation, brandishes the snake, thrusting it toward them to give them a scare. They recoil and give him that pained smile that women get when they are pretending to be nice.

“I hope he doesn’t come over here with that thing,” my wife Carmela says, and I assure her that he won’t. So we continue our conversation about this and that, and right in the middle of our talk, the old man comes over, interrupts us, and thrusts the snake – which turns out to be a realistic looking fake – in Carmela’s face.

“Please don’t do that,” she says in a calm but curt tone. But he just laughs and does it again. And that’s when all my old man kindness and wisdom fly out the window.

“Get the f*** away from us,” I tell him loudly. The problem is, I say it so loudly, that all the folks in the restaurant stop eating and stare at us, including the old man with the snake, who looks confused.

“Get the f*** out of here,” I tell him again as I start to get up out of my seat, and at this point he flees out the door.

It would seem like mission accomplished, but to tell you the truth, I immediately felt ashamed. I try very hard to be tolerant, but I scared an old man – no matter how obnoxious he may have been. I used bad language – I don’t talk like that anymore. And I made a scene and interrupted everybody’s breakfast by picking on a senior citizen.

But when I got home, I looked in the mirror and once again rediscovered the awful truth. I’m a senior citizen too. The old man and I are probably about the same age. He didn’t have to run out the door. He could have stood his ground and told me to go f*** myself. Then we could have thrown some punches, maybe wrestled around on the floor, and gotten busted by the Sun Lakes security team.

Who knows, after it was all over, the old man and I might have had a beer and ended up being friends.

Stranger things have happened.

George Lee Cunningham

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