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Practicing to be a grumpy old man

April 27, 2011

Regular readers of this blog – and by “regular readers” I mean, me – are familiar with my recent rant entitled “Dear Dork In the Carpool Line At Lake Murray Elementary School.”  Said dorks were at it again this morning when I dropped off Sophie.

My attempts at shaming them into compliance with the “No Left Turn” dictum having fallen on deaf ears, I today took the next natural step. I shook my fist at a couple of them as I turned into the carpool line.

This prompted the following exchange between Shelly and me as we rode in to town together.

“I shook my fist at some idiots turning left this morning.”

“Why don’t you just call the school?” Shelly asked.

“I’m gonna buy my own orange cones and use them to block access to the turning lane,” I said.

“Just call the principal and tell her you’re concerned that it’s going to cause an accident,” she said calmly.

“I’m thinking about getting a whistle, too.”

“It’s the school’s fault for not enforcing it. Just call the office.”

“They still sell those ‘Mr. Microphones?’ I could use that like a bullhorn to yell at them.”

“Why won’t you just call the principal?” she sighed.

“Can’t do it. I’m practicing to be a grumpy old man. If I call somebody I’d look like I’m trying to solve the problem instead of just bitching about it,” I grunted. (Grumpy old men tend to grunt a lot.)

“You were a grumpy young man, and now you’re a grumpy middle-aged man. What else do you need to practice?”

“I’m not middle-aged,” I harrumphed. (You never see a young person described as harrumphing; only old dudes like Dennis the Menace’s neighbor get away with harrumphing on a regular basis. I spend eight minutes in front of the mirror every morning practicing my harrumphs.)

“Yes, you are. You just turned 46. That’s middle-aged.”

“Is not.”

“What do you think ‘middle’ means? You’d have to live past 92 for this not to be the middle of your life,” said Shelly.

“So what are you saying?”

“I’m saying I doubt you’re gonna make it past 92.”

“So I ought to get started now?” I asked, somewhat concerned by this revelation.

“Started on what?”

“Buying orange cones. If I’ve already knocked out half my life, I need to go whole hog on grumpy old man stuff RIGHT NOW.”

By now, we’re at my building.

“You’re exhausting. Get out of the car,” she said.

“I can’t,” I replied, smirking. (“Smirking” is what grumpy old guys do when they get the senior discount on coffee at Hardee’s. I’ve been smirking since I was six, so I’ve got this part down pat.)


“I’m too old to walk across the parking lot. Drive up in the garage and drop me at the door.”

“You want to know something, Tim?”


“You’re not going to live to be 47 if you don’t shut up and get out of the car.”

“Ha! I knew it!” I yelled, easing out of the car.

“Knew what?”

“You’re a grumpy old woman!”

That’s when she ran over my foot. Little does she know, I’ve already hobbled down to Long’s and bought myself a grumpy-old-man cane. WINNING!!!


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