Old Man Gauntlet

Image Credit: la vaca vegetariana (Flickr)

I guess I should preface this “post” with another one of my famous “laws.”

Tom’s Law #42
It can be difficult to defeat someone who has totally given up and utterly couldn’t give a shit less.

Pithy as always, eh?

And, bonus, I just found a way to work in today’s random song. Writer’s block has been defeated. It turns out there will be a post today. I win. You lose. Click the jump to suffer further.

In the last 48 hours I’ve had a veritable plethora of ideas for blog posts that I personally thought were hella awesome. Fortunately for the civilized world, I failed to write any of them down. I figured my brain would come through at the critical moment.

I found myself in front of the blank page. Nothing. Oh shit. Not a single one? Nope. My own brain was laughing at me.

Fuck it. I gots deadlines, yo. I know, I’ll ask the iPod for a random song and I’ll write about whatever comes up. As always, my personal code of ethics dictates there can be no cheating. It’s not like I’m a badminton player and the stakes are seriously high.

The song I was given turned out to be unusable. Or so I thought. Then I remembered the old man who threw down with me the other day…

There are a lot of old timers in my neck of the woods. I live in a small town that used to be a lot smaller. Some people have been around longer than the hills. They’ve lived on the same piece of property their entire lives.

That little street on the outskirts of town? The one more deserted than my blog stats? It’s all grown up now and is essentially an interstate highway right off your front porch. The house hasn’t move and neither has the road. But now it’s full of cars zooming both ways at 70 miles an hour.

My the times have changed.

Image credit: Tom B. Taker (Abyss)

If someone new moved in, they’d probably be young pups and wouldn’t give that fucking highway a second thought. But not you, old man. You’ve lived there your entire life. You still remember how it used to be. That’s how you still see it in your mind.

And your mailbox is on the other side of the road.

In the olden days, you’d walk out and get your mail any damn time you felt like it. There was never a car in sight.

These days? You have to wait 20 minutes for an opening just to get across. Then you have to wait again just to get back.

Sure, I’d be pissed, too. Life sucks. Yada yada yada.

Some people, though, have a little problem. They aren’t too big on accepting this little thing I like to call “reality.” The situation our old friend here faces can be handled in different ways. You can adjust to change and cross the street in a way that, while admittedly irritating, is safe and allows life to continue.

The other choice, of course, is to refuse to change in any way, shape or form. Don’t let the bastards win. Fuck ’em! I was here first and this is my street. Just wade on out there like you’re the only one on the planet. Do it languidly. Take your time. And if you’re feeling that possessive about your little piece of asphalt, it helps to pee on it first. RAWR!

Not too surprisingly, the stories in the news around here about people getting struck and killed by cars while getting their mail are all too plentiful. Police never cite the drivers. That’s the law enforcement way of saying, “It’s the dead person’s fault.”

So the other day I was traveling down a road in my horseless carriage. If I lived on Mackinac Island this story wouldn’t have happened. (Because it’s a place with no cars.) Well, not in exactly the same way. I’m sure the bastard would have still found a way to fuck with me.

An old man was interested in crossing the road. I was heading in his direction. For seasoned readers of my blog, that’s all that needs to be said really. You all know the story from there. It can only go down one way.

I watched in slow motion as he shuffled to the edge of the road. As he approached, he did something unprecedented and extraordinary. He actually looked for traffic first! Most just amble on out and leave the details to the Devil.

He looked me dead in the eye. I saw him. He saw me. There was no mistaking the moment. I was traveling the speed limit and there was clearly not enough time. Any idiot could see that. Even him.

Then, never breaking eye contact, he continued walking. He never missed a beat. He began to walk out in front of me.

Now I suddenly had choices of my own. Pretend like I saw nothing and feel a satisfying bump or slam on my brakes to avoid contact. I’m a sentimental sap so I chose the latter. My iPod was now on the floor of my car.


Thinking about it later I realized the crucial key to his success. He literally gave no shits. (I’m not talking about his Depends, either.) He was so embittered about his private road changing over time and how badly his life sucked, he literally couldn’t care less whether he lived or died. That was the power that guaranteed his win. (And he probably also had a fair bit of attitude, but that’s another story.)

That day the old man became my enemy. I dedicate today’s random song to his memory. May it come soon.

3 responses

  1. Then I guess chivalry isn’t dead. Of course, we’ll find out years from now that the old dude’s name actually was Chivalry…when we read it on his tombstone following his untimely death after falling into an abyss. 😉


    1. Chivalry died with the invention of the microbe.

      As an accomplished tombstone author, I’d very much like to take a crack at this one.

      “Here lies Chivalry. Pooped on by a Guru.”


      1. You are so golden. 😉


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