I love my wife the Beautiful AP; I really do, but sometimes she can be a royal pain in those areas that Royals are not allowed to discuss.
“Since you are semi-retired I think you should take up birding,” she said.
“Birding; you know go out to the areas where people bring binoculars and watch birds,” she said.
“I know what birding is,” I said. “What’s that other thing?”
“Semi-retired? Why did you say I am semi-retired?”
“Because you are semi-retired,” she insisted. (My wife is an “insisterer.”)
“I am not semi-retired,” I said. “I am not semi-retired. I am a writer. In the past 25 years I have published 35 books, some with the largest publishing company in the world. How could you forget that? I’ve written thousands of articles for over 50 newspapers and magazines. I’ve written television shows. I’ve…”
“Scobe,” she insisted. “You don’t have to sell me on what you’ve done in your writing career; it’s just that you have cut back a lot and I mean a lot on your writing time.”
Okay, she has a small point there, a teeny-tiny point. In the past I would spend eight (sometimes up to 10) hours a day at this damn (I mean “darn”) keyboard. In one year I wrote four books – four hefty brilliant books – for a subsidiary of Random House. Try writing four thick, amazingly good books in one year while also writing for…
“I know what you are thinking Scobe,” she said. “You are now going to tell everyone reading this how amazingly prolific you are and how much you have accomplished to show you aren’t semi-retired.”
“What makes you think that?” I whimpered.
“Because I know you,” she insisted. “I can see the wheels turning in your head.”
Okay, okay, I am spending less time writing than I used to in the past. I now spend about four hours a day (sometimes three) writing my columns and other stuff (such as Facebook posts) but I have a good excuse for that…
“I know you are reading a lot more lately,” she said. (I swear she is plucking this stuff out of my damn [darn] head!)
She’s right; she’s right. I am reading more lately. That is true.
From the age of 15 to 35 I read maybe five books a week; I had over 5,000 books in my collection by the time I divorced my first wife. I kid you not. I am a fast reader because once a book grabs me I can’t put it down. (”Is dad still in the bathroom?” “Yes, he’s reading.”)
During that 20-year period, I read mostly science, philosophy, esotericism, theology, classics and a lot of science fiction. In my young years I thought I was on the road to learning “the truth” which is what Pontius Pilate sarcastically asked Jesus, “And what is the truth?” Jesus remained silent. Had he answered the damn (darn) Roman governor’s question I would know “the truth”; instead I have not been spared from my current, total ignorance. (I blame Jesus for all of this!)
So why am I reading more lately? Well from 35 to my current age of 69 (“It’s just a number. It’s just a number.” It’s just a number my ass. I have arthritis for God’s sake!), I spent my time doing theatre, then playing casino games and writing. The more I did those things, the less I read.
“Oh, no,” my wife insisted, reading my mind. “You have cut down your writing but spend as much time watching movies and news programs as you do reading.”
She just stands there plucking this stuff out of my mind. Do any of you husbands out there have wives who can read their minds? It’s very annoying.
“I read a bunch of good magazines, Scientific American, Discover, Skeptic, Skeptical Inquirer, Reason, Free Inquiry and…”
“Come on, Scobe; you are semi-retired,” insisted the Beautiful AP.
“No, I am not. I am retired from teaching for almost 15 years but not from working,” I lament. “I am a writer. A full-time writer.”
“I think you’ll like birding.”
“Oh, for crying out loud,” I cried out loud.
“You also need to get out of the house and socialize more.”
“I have a friend,” I said.
“Who lives in Tennessee and you live in New York,” she said. “Why don’t you call some of the people you taught with and set up breakfast or luncheon dates with them?”
“Most of the teachers I was friends with have died.” That is so true. Most of the ones who inspired me are in their graves. I honor them in my memory.
“You have to be involved with people,” she insisted.
“I give talks. I’ve given talks to fifteen hundred people at one time if you haven’t forgotten,” I defended myself.
“Other than the person who paid you; come on, you didn’t know any of them.”
[“And what is the truth?” Come on Jesus, answer the damn (darn) question.]
“You need…binoculars…to be a birdwatcher,” I stammered.
“I’ve ordered them. I’m getting a pair too and I’ll go with you until we can find you a birding friend.”
[A birding friend? A stinking birding friend! What the hell (heck) is happening to me?]
“You know I get bit all the time by mosquitoes,” I said. “I could get Zika.”
“I’ve bought wipes with DEET on them. You’ll be okay.”
“I don’t want to socialize. I’m not that good in small groups,” I said.
“Lawrence High School has a group that meets every so often. Find out about them.”
“I don’t know any of them,” I said. “They came to the High School during the time I was a hermit.” [The Scobe the Hermit story is for another time.]
“You will write a note to Steve Kussin who is in charge of the group.”
“Oh, for crying out loud.”
“I want you to become a bird watcher. And I want you to sign up for a program at Hofstra University for professionals who are retired…”
“I’m semi-retired,” I said.
Crap (crap). She nailed me.
So enjoy my bird articles!