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The Old Guy at Work

Submitted by AnthonyS on June 1, 2010 – 5:57 pmComments

Photo courtesy *hiro008 at flickr

The main differences between work and college are that work is less fun, you get paid to work, and you no longer live in a stimulating environment surrounded by your peers. So they’re basically the same thing.  The mixing of generations at work means that you encounter widely variant views on numerous life issues; Al, the resident elder at my work, holds some questionable beliefs regarding sexual appropriateness and substance consumption, but nevertheless is held in high regard by many of his coworkers.

I especially enjoy speaking with Al, in spite of the fact that he takes frequent Percocet breaks to control his back pain (“I’m gonna go get high,” he likes to say).  He also likes to make comments to female coworkers that would be acceptable only if we worked at the ad agency in Mad Men.  But in between these interruptions, he spins the yarns of his life, and they comprise an erratic but entertaining whole.  He’s had about 5 wives as far as I can tell, was a misfit in the Korean War-era military, has been to most countries in the Western Hemisphere and Europe, and loves to death his seemingly infinite number of grandchildren.

But the most poignant sentence he utters as he approaches age 75 is, “Shit, I can’t believe I made it.”  And I think that’s something the younger folks of today forget.  In the face of all these choices, we give a heightened importance to every decision we make. But sometimes you just need to make it and try to enjoy where you are.  If you’re lucky, you can live to see the day where you’re beloved enough to pop pills at work.  It’s a wonderful life!

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