Growing old disgracefully.

An older chap went for a job interview. Things had changed since the last time he’d done it, (there’d probably been a world war or something) but anyway it was all emotional intelligence and empathy and stuff.

Anyway towards the end one of the interviewers, very earnestly, asked him, “Do you have any weaknesses.”

The old lad thought about it for a while and said, “Yes, my honesty.”

The interviewer looked shocked and said, “I don’t think honesty can be a weakness.”

“I don’t give a damn what you think.”

Many years ago I went to the USSR. Yep, back then they still had one. I even went to Leningrad, try doing that now.

But anyway it was my only ever package holiday because it was the only way you could get into the USSR back then.

On the trip was a family who’d brought mother and her sister along. The two ladies were Memsahibs. Born and brought up in British India, Daughters of serving soldiers, they’d been out east for much of their lives.

They were brilliant, practical, pragmatic, unshockable and they knew exactly what they wanted and how to get it.

Like the day they kidnapped a Soviet policeman.

I watched them. There was a seriously busy road, several lanes in both directions and plenty of traffic. They came up behind the policeman, and with one on either side of him they somehow moved him across the road.

Now this shouldn’t work, but obviously it did, personally I think the drivers were stopping to see what happened next!

But with no trouble at all they got to the other side of the road, where they thanked him for his kindness in helping two frail elderly ladies to cross. Then they went off to do whatever they’d been intending to do.

He stood on the side of the road, a bit pathetic, trying to work out how on earth he was going to cross back

We might have to grow old, but we don’t have to grow up



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22 thoughts on “Growing old disgracefully.

  1. M T McGuire December 1, 2014 at 5:52 pm Reply

    Amen to that. Age is a state of mind.

    • jwebster2 December 1, 2014 at 6:05 pm Reply

      It’s funny, you start off in a world where everybody is older than you, and then you drift through it and the proportion who are younger obviously increases.
      But during the course of today I met two people, one I discovered (to my surprise) was actually younger than me. The other I knew to be older, but he seemed to be treating age with the sort of contempt it deserves.

      The only time you run into problems is when you’re in a physical job. Indirectly I owe a lot to Tesco. If they’d not been such bastards over the milk price, I would probably still be milking cows and my knees would probably be knackered.
      I was talking to a chap where the doctors looked at his neck and back and told him to change career. Unfortunately at sixty with no real qualifications other than the ability to put in a hard day’s work with a spade, that is easy to say and hard to do.

  2. The Story Reading Ape May 26, 2015 at 8:32 pm Reply
  3. davidprosser May 26, 2015 at 9:34 pm Reply

    The application for a job now is unintelligible even for an internal one. You get allocated points for certain buzz words used and it becomes less and less about the interview process. At one time if you were the best qualified you had an interview and got the job now you may not even get an interview if the form doesn’t contain enough points.
    I’ve certainly grown older but see no reason for growing up.

    • jwebster2 May 26, 2015 at 9:39 pm Reply

      The joy of being perpetually self employed is I’ve never really had to do that sort of thing. And when your co-worker is a Border Collie you can express opinions which would have HR and PR both demanding your removal 🙂
      But like you, I feel growing up has little to recommend it

  4. Let's CUT the Crap! May 26, 2015 at 10:04 pm Reply

    I haven’t reached the point where I even understand what grown up means. By what I see around me, I don’t want to either 😀 😀 😀

  5. softsenta May 26, 2015 at 10:28 pm Reply


  6. michaelphelps1 May 26, 2015 at 11:07 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Michaelphelps1's Blog and commented:
    I love Mr. Webster’s humor! Growing OLD does not mean you have to accept it or act like it! IF you DO NOT GIVE UP on LIFE, YOU can LIVE!

    • jwebster2 May 27, 2015 at 6:09 am Reply

      Glad to be of service 🙂 Always remember that Peter Pan is an exemplar

  7. Tharcion May 27, 2015 at 12:20 pm Reply

    My parents bought me a little plaque for my 50th birthday which now hangs on the wall in my office (because that’s where there was somewhere to hang it. It reads:

    If you haven’t grown up by 50 you don’t have to.

    Words to live by.

    • jwebster2 May 27, 2015 at 1:37 pm Reply

      Yeap, congratulations on your choice of wise parents 🙂

  8. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt May 30, 2015 at 1:35 am Reply

    I am now in the position that EVERYONE who is still working (normal retirement age applies) is younger than I am! I’m not too thrilled. They often don’t see any advantage in serving someone who obviously is too old to ‘get it.’

    I hit them over the head with my title (I KNEW that darned PhD would come in handy some day), and they behave – but I’m always a little ashamed of myself for pulling rank.

    But I get what I need – which they should have been arranging before that.

    I don’t like the new world: we had to respect OUR elders, but now we’re not getting the respect we were supposed to get when it was OUR turn.

    I don’t worry TOO much – if I can learn to write, to covers, and self-publish at my age, I’m still flexible. That’s all I care about. (Book 1 – coming extremely soon.)

    • jwebster2 May 30, 2015 at 6:09 am Reply

      I’m in a different place as I’ve been self employed all my life. Because I’ve never actually applied for a job, on the times people have asked me to step in as a consultant and help, they are the ones who’ve invited me across the threshold and so they have to be prepared to take the consequences 🙂
      But best of luck with the book. Seriously , the work starts now. It’s the marketing that is the difficult bit

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt May 30, 2015 at 3:08 pm

        If you want to do research physics, you pretty much have ONE career path.

        It has become clearer with time that 90% or so of those who get those PhDs in the hard subjects will STILL not get the jobs they thought they were training for – there aren’t enough of them!

        So you have NO chance if you don’t at least start with the right credentials. I know of NO modern physicists who came to us from the ranks of people dabbling in physics on their own.

        It’s all in what you want to do – when you’re 20!

        I’m almost looking forward to the marketing – it is such a well-documented area on the blogs. Everyone shares their experience, and what worked for them – and I have a plan. Which has as its first step: get the thing out there!

      • jwebster2 May 30, 2015 at 3:42 pm

        I can see the problem with Physics, I suspect that for many, teaching might be the only option, and as the son, brother and Uncle of teachers, it’s not a trade I could do.
        With regard the book, start you marketing now, get the word out there, get people familiar with the idea, make friends on social media. Make friends on facebook and twitter etc. So what is the book about?

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt May 30, 2015 at 4:27 pm

        Thanks for asking! This is the short version:

        I’ve always been fascinated by how celebrities choose who to marry. Pride’s Children is about a reclusive best-selling writer who is irresistibly drawn to an Irish megastar, and thinks she’s safe because she will never see him again. To complicate matters, a beautiful young actress has already decided that she and the actor will make the ultimate Hollywood Power Couple.

        Book 1 tells the story of the development of a beautiful relationship – that can go nowhere.

      • jwebster2 May 30, 2015 at 5:33 pm

        Have you got your ‘blog tour’ organised? Because your story sounds to me to fall into the ‘romance’ genre (that’s an attempt at description, I’m not meaning anything derogatory or whatever) you really want to look through all those people who have blogs amount romance books and contact them and ask if they’d like to run a story on your book when it comes out.

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt May 30, 2015 at 8:42 pm

        I’ve thought long and hard about the ‘Romance’ category. My mavens there tell me it is NOT a Romance, as it fails many of the required tests.

        I call it a mainstream love story – but I notice that people like Nicholas Sparks, who rail against the Romance category, and the Women’s Fiction category, have their stories in BOTH those categories on Amazon. Discoverability.

        Trust me. If I found out I could fit in Romance, I’d be all over it – they’re HUGE readers. But make some of them unhappy – by not providing what they expect, and you will wish you had never gone there. I’d rather them find me by accident – and like Pride’s Children, than have ME put it in Romance and have the Romance readers unhappy in ANY quantity.

        I’d say instead it’s a mainstream love story more on the size and scope of The Thorn Birds, set in the world of entertainment, but with a heavy dose of as real a psychology as I can come up with, morals, ethics, principles, and all.

        It asks questions such as What does a disabled person have the right to aspire to? And What to do if you’re the worst possible person for someone else, no matter how much you love them? My list of themes (all of them hidden quietly in the background) is a page long (for the whole trilogy).

        I know, I know: everyone says that.

        I think I’m going more by stealth. Get readers to swallow a few chapters before they know exactly where they’re going – because they find the characters fascinating, and get these nice notes from readers saying they stayed up half the night to finish.

        First, I have to finish the danged cover. Then return to the book description (I have a guru for that).

        There’s only one of me, the brain doesn’t work, and I’m abysmally slow. But I WILL get there.

        Thanks, Jim.

      • jwebster2 May 30, 2015 at 9:19 pm

        It’s all very techie, just what genre you are. To an extent I like it when genre have fuzzy boundaries, like SF and Fantasy 🙂 But I can see your problems with Romance, because I suspect a lot of hard core readers know just what they want.
        I suspect readers are more forgiving than we give then credit for. But there again there are so many books they tend to use Genre as a way of reducing the heap they have to look through.

        I did a short story which went into an anthology of romance. A friend of mine liked it but her comment was ‘It’s romance Jim, but not as we know it’ 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt May 30, 2015 at 9:28 pm

        I love the comment – because I’m in the same boat.

        To me, most Romances seem impossible – because not enough time is taken to make the characters real, and have a relationship of a believable kind. Ditto chick lit.

        But when you mentally subtitle your own story ‘The Great American Love Story,’ many people will think that IS a Romance.

        It is romantic – as Jane Eyre is – but I love Jane for her principles and the lengths she goes to to keep to them so she can respect herself, and that is what I’m aiming for. Love, duty, honor – and most important of all, the children.

        Fuzzy boundaries – but once a story is popular, no one looks closely at its keywords.

      • jwebster2 May 30, 2015 at 9:50 pm

        It’s interesting. In my first two fantasy books there are ‘elements of romance.’ In Swords for a Dead Lady the hero uncovers a romance. Both participants are now dead but things done still carry meaning for those living. In Dead Man Riding East the hero ends up getting married, so there has to be romance in it somewhere. But I’d never class them as romances 🙂

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