54 random thoughts on the eve of my entering old geezerhood

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

FIFTY-FOUR RANDOM thoughts on the eve of my entering old geezerhood:

  1. As a kid, I would read western comics and invariably I  came across the term, “old timer.” I read it as “old timmer.” I never could figure out what an old timmer was. Now I are one.
  2. I often try to imagine what went through my mother’s mind 65 years ago when she gave birth to her, ninth child. Was there joy in her heart? Was there sorrow? Did she wonder, “How are we going to feed this kid?” Did she wonder what I would turn out to be like? Did she even imagine I could be anything but a farm worker, destined to live in perpetual poverty? Do mothers always believe that their newborn child is going to be the perfect child? Or do they wonder, is this going to be the president who is going to be impeached? Or the congressman who electronically exposes his thing to strange young women? Or the loser who goes to a mall to shoot a congresswoman and a judge and others?
  3. There are no pictures of me as a baby. Not a single one.
  4. As a kid, when I’d hear my mother exclaim, “Yo creo que me voy a volver loca,” as a result of my father’s abusive behavior, I really believed that she could go insane, and I feared that more than anything else in the world.
  5. I’ve never been as sad as the first time I came home from school and my mother wasn’t there; she’d gone off to work.
  6. I never dreamed that I would spend almost as many years in Washington as I did in my hometown.
  7. There was a time when I believed I would spend the rest of my life in San Marcos.
  8. I know hundreds of people; very few of them know me, and that’s never going to change.
  9. Sixty-five feels no different than 60 and 60 feels no different than 50 and 50 feels no different than 40 and 40 feels no different than 30. That’s as far as I’m willing to go, although sometimes I feel as if I were 18.
  10. I always thought that I don’t look very different as an old man than I did as a young man and that my high school classmates and friends would have no trouble recognizing me now. Not because I believed I’d stayed young-looking, but because I thought I had retained the same facial features from my youth. I know now that they would have trouble recognizing me.
  11. I am in better shape, physically, now than I have ever been. Emotionally? Ditto. Mentally: that’s for you to decide.
  12. “Our bodies change,” said the old guy sitting at the next table just now, to his wife. No shit.
  13. I’m a good person, in general, but I am not very tolerant of fools. There are too many fools in the world.
  14. I’m not very good with people who need me.
  15. I can be very superficial.
  16. I’m a snob at heart and you can blame my mother for that because she always taught us that we were better than others (even though I don’t think she ever put it that way) and that was why we couldn’t do some of the things others did.
  17. If I were someone else I’m not sure I’d want to spend too much time with me. I’d be bored shitless.
  18. I think I can safely say that the biggest thrill of my life was seeing Janis Joplin in concert on the UT campus, with my roommate Terry McCabe and his sister. The second was watching the full moon rise over the Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. The third was flying on the Concorde from London to Dallas. The fourth was the first time I put a handful of Fritos in my mouth then quickly took a swig of Coca Cola, with the salty chips still in my mouth.
  19. The best pan dulce is from Canela’s in Crystal City.
  20. I hate confrontation.
  21. I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was 13, and I didn’t own one until I was in my late 20s, yet today I ride my bike almost everywhere in town. I can’t imagine my father riding a bike at 65.
  22. I’m not afraid of dying and I don’t wonder what comes after death, primarily because I believe there’s nothing after we die, but I sure resent not being around to observe what happens. At the same time, I really don’t want to be around to see what’s going to happen to this world, given the way we’ve been behaving these past four or five decades.
  23. I’ve never wanted children and I don’t regret never having had any and I think I’d be terribly depressed if I had had some because I’d be worried shitless every single hour of the day about what bad things could happen to them.
  24. I’ve been intellectually lazy all my life. As a kid learning English, I’d come across a word that I didn’t know what it meant but I rarely bothered to look it up. I’d just wait, knowing that eventually the meaning would become clear.
  25. That guy I just quoted a while ago? He just said, “There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.” Yeah, so? We spend most of our lives in the damn tunnel.
  26. I have the best family in the world and I have the best friends in the world and most of my working life I’ve had the best colleagues in the world.
  27. I don’t know of anybody who hates me or even dislikes me strongly, and I really would be surprised is such a person were to surface. I like that.
  28. I have evolved from being passionate about politics to being almost completely repulsed by it.
  29. I would rather unclog a stopped-up toilet than watch or listen to a talk show.
  30. I used to watch every movie released and now I probably see no more than 10 or 12 movies a year at a theater, and about that many on TV or DVD. The last 3-D movie I saw was in the 1950s, at the Guild Theater in my hometown. I do not see sci-fi movies, fantasy movies, shoot-em-up movies, spy movies, adventure movies, documentaries or animated films. Woody Allen is still the best, along with Almadovar. And I believe they should make more westerns.
  31. I learned to love newspapers when my brother-in-law, who lived next door, started subscribing to the San Antonio Express (or was it The News?). At first I’d borrow it to read the comics but then I started reading most of the paper. As a young adult I would read every newspaper I could get hold of, no matter where I was. Today, I couldn’t care less what the LA Times or the Chicago Tribune of the Boston Globe or the Dallas Morning News looks like.
  32. The first newspaper I ever bought was a Sunday Grand Forks Herald (I think that’s its name); I bought it in Forest River, North Dakota.
  33. The first razor I ever bought was in a small grocery store near Wautoma, Wisc. That was the summer my father had left us to go to Colorado with his girlfriend and so I could no longer borrow his razor to shave off my wisp of a moustache.
  34. I love the moon but the stars don’t do much for me.
  35. I envy anybody who can sing and/or play a musical instrument (except for flutes and harps: I find them irritating.)
  36. I’m scared of snakes, spiders, lizards and snakes. And ghosts.
  37. I love doctors, nurses, dentists and hospitals.
  38. I love airplanes, architecture and bridges.
  39. I love dancing and wish I could dance better than I do.
  40. I do not believe anyone who says he/she can’t cook and I have little patience with anyone who says he/she is too tired to cook.
  41. The first time I ever ate French fries was at Morton’s Seafood Restaurant in Green Lake, Wisc.
  42. The first time I ever ate restaurant-made pizza was when I went away to college in San Marcos.
  43. I’ve only gotten sick-drunk once in my entire life. It was on some Chivas Regal that a rich guy had bought to a San Marcos school board election victory party. To this day I cannot stand the taste or smell of scotch. But I’ll take your bourbon or your rum or your gin any time, thank you very much. Or your beer or wine.
  44. If I could afford it I would get a facelift.
  45. If I could afford it and I knew it wouldn’t look creepy, I’d get hair transplants.
  46. Houston will always be one of my favorite cities.
  47. I’m into cheap thrills. I can’t resist taking home those little hotel shampoo bottles, and I don’t want to throw them away when I use up the shampoo. I really believe most bottles are beautiful, be they plastic or glass. I like boxes, too – especially wooden boxes. I also find it difficult to throw out Popsicle sticks and whenever I go to the Chinese take-out, I always grab an extra set of chopsticks. I have hundreds of them.
  48. I was a decent reporter and a good columnist, but I have no desire to be either.
  49. I always knew Santa Clause was make-believe and nobody every tried to convince me that he was real, and for that I give thanks.
  50. I do almost all my book reading on my iPad or my iPhone.
  51. I have no idea when I’ll retire or where I’ll live when I do. I’ve seriously thought about joining the Peace Corps when I do retire.
  52. Even though I’m not into religion, I’m glad I grew up Catholic.
  53. I honestly, truly believe that, if there is a God, the greatest, most profound prayer anyone can utter is a simple, “I don’t know.”
  54. Why am I sounding like Any Rooney? Of, that’s right: I’m an old geezer now.



About juanzqui7

Former Texas reporter, columnist and editorial writer.
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