Freudian Slips: A Man of Principle

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

February 26, 2006

A Man of Principle

It boggles my mind to hear people admit that they don’t know what they are going to do with themselves when they retire. The bottle of my retirement glass is three quarters full. I do not want to stay indentured longer than I have to. If there exists a deal to opt out for an early retirement package a decade from now, I will be all ears. Don’t get me wrong. My vocation as a social worker is important but I want to retire while relatively healthy. I dream of a golden parachute buffering my landing for a new chapter of life. I don't invision retirement as a stare in the mirrow until I can figure out a clever way to re-invent myself. Instead, retirement for me means playing tennis, going to the gym, devoting block time to writing, more social time with friends, uninterrupted sleep, expanded hobbies, and vacation getaways.
Allow me to digress. Before I had hair on my chest, I used to work in an elementary school as a night custodian. A lesson in life, the least important person on a job carries all the keys. The school principle was an older man who carried with him in some circles the nickname of Hoyt. Hoyt ran the show and he could be considered Old School in his managerial style. It came as a surprise to everyone the day that Hoyt announced his retirement because he often bragged that he would never retire. Slinging mops and hauling trash for just enough to get by, well I didn’t really understand that mentality coming from a seasoned principle who logged enough years in the pension system to retire.
Nevertheless, retirement was a dirty word to Hoyt. A man of principle, the school was his life. While his retirement was not based on reduced competency, Hoyt still viewed retirement as surrender and banishment by a society rendering him useless. The faculty learned that Hoyt’s wife felt like her husband was now stealing quality time from her. Hoyt described bowing down to his wife to join her at home for what he negatively perceived to be mindless chitchatting over tea and crimpets.
As his last day on the job approached, Hoyt went kicking and screaming. To celebrate his career and retirement, the Sunshine Club purchased a young cherry tree in Hoyt’s honor to be planted on school grounds. The custodians planted the sapling in the school’s courtyard for all to admire. The eager roots barely had been afforded the time to spread out in their burlap sack before the tree was stolen. That was sad enough but Hoyt didn’t fare much better than his stolen tree. Hoyt died weeks into his muddled retirement.
For the life of him, Hoyt told us he didn’t know what he would do with his retirement. Hoyt knew this about himself and stated as much in so many words. I, for one, should have believed him. On less than hallowed ground, there grows a stolen cherry tree once planted in Hoyt’s honor. I often think of Hoyt in the same tragic sense as the uprooting of that dedicated tree. I suppose it is because I know now what I didn’t then. Some people aren’t meant to retire and need to work to feel alive. I just may not be one of them.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Merci said...

I've never been able to understand it when people say they wouldn't know what to do with themselves if they retired. How unimaginative! I can think of dozens of wonderful things to do with my time. If I really need a clock to punch, I could always volunteer somewhere, or take a fun part-time job.

There's a big ol' world out there waiting for us when we retire, and I plan to get at least a few years to enjoy it!

8:43 PM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

I am with the both of you...the sooner the better!

I can think of a million and one things to do when it's time for my gold watch!

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm retired and keep busy. Sometimes I wonder how I had time to work!

8:57 AM  
Blogger Merci said...

Hey, what Pax said - do we get a gold watch???

8:09 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

merci,
sounds like we will be seeing one another on cruises.

Pax,
Watch? be realistic. how about a laminated printout to go?

Anonymous,
If you have time stop on back to Freudian Slips.

Merci,
You sound like a naive cherub.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

Being unemployed at the moment (and for the past several months - by choice) has been pretty close to what I imagine retirement to be like.
Even throughout a nasty winter depression, I haven't had a moment of time when I can say I've been bored. Not one.

Ed and I have talked about our future and we'd both like to travel a bit ... perhaps drive the country in a nice RV ... only thing is, we both agree that we'd HAVE to be connected somehow to the Internet or that just won't work. Pathetic? Yup. Or is it?

9:49 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

weary, If you are ever traveling Weary on the road and are near NJ, stop on by.

6:38 PM  

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