I enjoyed corresponding with him from time to time, and I always got a kick out of his posts about has fascinating career and how he ended up producing movies. And he had great stories about famous writers, directors, and actors who had created the movies he produced. He was the kind of interesting and famous friend you never think you are going to make on Facebook.
After a couple of years, though, he began to complain that he had too many Facebook friends and that he was going to start paring down the list. I seem to recall he had a couple of thousand at the time which actually isn't all that many in the scheme of things. What he said he wanted was a few hundred people that he felt made his experience on Facebook fun, and with whom he could actually exchange ideas and stories.
He was one of the very few people on the platform that I worried about not seeing anymore. But he would text me from time to time to assure me that I'd made the cut. This went on for about a year as he shed friends.
One day he started up a conversation about work. Retirement came up. I was still several years away from retirement. Close enough that I could taste it and wanted the day to come so that I wouldn't have to punch a clock and stress myself out by keeping myself from punching managers or supervisors. I mentioned to him that I thought everyone should be given the opportunity and pension to retire by age 50. I thought that was a reasonable amount of time to toil away for the capitalist system and then kick back and enjoy twenty to thirty-something years of fun.
This idea upset him. I mean...he actually got angry. I never would have figured it, coming as he did from the counter-culture of the 60s and early 70s. But it did piss him off.
A few days later I noticed that I was no longer on his friends list. I suppose at that point he must have been actively looking for reasons to shed anyone and everyone to get down to his magic number of Facebook friends of 400 or so. In the end, I didn't make the cut, as he had put it. I must admit that I missed his stories. He was pretty cool.
I finally did retire. Being retired is glorious. Fuck working. If you don't have to work you shouldn't do it if it's making you miserable and you have the means to give up your job. I worked from my teens until I was 62 years old. That was freaking long enough. I know lazy bastards who do things like leech off of their parents and make their wives support them. I've always worked. For the past ten years that I did work all I could think of was making sure that I could retire at 62. I was freaking finished.
And I think of my old Facebook friend and I wonder what it was about the idea of people being able to retire on a government pension at 50 that pissed him off so much. Maybe he was just a right wing curmudgeon with the aura of the counterculture about him that was totally false. I'll never know. Not only did he cease to be friendly with me via Facebook, he subsequently died.
No, don't ask who he was. It doesn't matter, now, and I'm not going to mention it. If his name wouldn't be familiar to you, the films that he produced almost certainly would have.
As for me, I freaking love being retired. I have time to have fun. I don't stress out over getting up before light unless Carole and I are going on a trip, or I'm going to drive to a park to go hiking or camping or kayaking. I can stay up half the night working on a new novel. I can plan out an ad campaign for my novels. For years I talked about planting a garden and never did. Now I have and we harvest vegetables from it almost every day.
Fuck it. That famous producer was wrong. I was right. Retirement is amazing. You don't have to sit on your ass and wither away or become stupid in front of the television.
In fact, I wish I'd been able to do this at 50 instead of 62. Or earlier.
|My favorite view of Stone Mountain while being on Stone Mountain.|
|Seven of the eight wild turkey chicks I saw.|
|The mother hen.|
|One of thousands of rhododendron blossoms today.|
|A small cascade above a larger waterfall.|