I’ve got a soft spot for unabashed oldsters.
They’ve been the subject of some debate lately, sparked by the observations of one of our guest writers, Suzanne Davis, who periodically drops in to offer her “greetings from old people camp.”
Her last column a few a weeks ago was about the joy she now finds in watching the comings and goings of birds in her yard, and how the pastime is an apparent requirement for anyone approaching AARP age.
Unfortunately, her musings ruffled some feathers among those who find her light-hearted “bird brain”-type observations offensive.
For my part, I like Suzanne’s style. Her cheery, self-deprecating outlook makes me smile. We would all be so lucky to reach our gilded years with such a carefree attitude intact.
In this business, I’ve had the good fortune of working with several aspiring geezers, many of whom attack the breach of older age like a band of merry jokesters tumbling out of a clown car.
Take the intrepid Bill Morem, whose Grandpa Simpson impression rivals anything you’ll hear on the actual show.
He may be in his 60s, but the twinkle in his eye hasn’t dimmed a whit in the two decades I’ve known him.
Most days, you can find him driving about in his Jeep, preferably with the top down, so he can feel the wind in his closely cropped hair and pick bugs out of his teeth with his Bowie knife.
At least that’s how I imagine it, Bill being the manliest of men and all.
He fancies himself a geezer, but he hardly fits the profile, at least not in any derogatory sense. He just plays one in the newspaper.
Bill likes to hang out with Bob Cuddy, with whom he shares cubicle space and membership in The Tribune’s Gray-Beard Club.
Bob’s been in the business more years than I’ve been alive, but he can still spit vinegar with the best of them.
Whenever I get a particularly amusing bit of hate mail, I like to share it with Bob, who keeps his all-time favorite reader letter tacked on his wall.
It’s the one that excoriates him for “the crock of bullshit” he once wrote for the Tri-Valley Herald in Pleasanton and concludes with the line, “GET YOUR ROTTEN ATHEISTIC ASS OUT OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY AND NEVER RETURN!!!”
Fortunately, Bob is not taking that advice to heart.
Finally, there’s my favorite Tribune copy editor, who shall remain nameless because he’s a copy editor and copy editors always remain nameless. It’s in their DNA.
He’s a soft-spoken Southern gentleman who I’m pretty sure grew up on a plantation and drove my Native American ancestors out of their Georgia homeland.
He celebrated the big 6-0 a couple years ago by throwing himself a giant bash in San Francisco.
Just last week, he went out and bought himself a self-declared “midlife crisis car,” a spiffy maroon convertible Mercedes Benz.
He has spent the last eight days looking for excuses to leave the building on unnecessary errands, taking with him whomever on the staff hasn’t yet had the opportunity to ride shotgun.
This little German automobile has put a grin on his face the likes I haven’t seen since his beloved Atlanta Braves won the World Series in 1995.
If you catch him rolling around town with the top down, silver locks flowing in the breeze, give him a thumbs up.
Or better yet, ask for a ride. He’ll probably offer you a lift to L.A. — if you buy him a burger on the way.
Got any favorite geezers you want to celebrate? Share your stories here.
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