MILLEDGEVILLE — I have recently entered a stage of life commonly referred to as being of a “ripe old age.” The specific number of those years can be measured in lustrums (around 12 in my case) and if you don’t know what a lustrum is then you aren’t old enough to worry about it. Anyway there are certain rights and privileges that accompany this senior status and one of them is to complain when you get a birthday, Christmas, anniversary or Columbus Day present that is unsuitable to the simple tastes and needs of an old geezer.
If any of you are considering such a gift for your old outdoor writer let me tell you first what gets my goat, grinds my shorts, and sandpapers my behind so that you won’t make a mistake while shopping for me. I don’t like, nor do I appreciate anything that smacks of technology. I have the equivalent of a black belt in old fashioned-ism. For example I recently received a new cell phone, and to tell you the honest truth it was like a shot to the gut from a heavyweight boxer. It was a #@&* (four letter word for disgusting) waste of money and mall time. Took me two days to get it turned on and once that was accomplished I couldn’t call anyone because the numbers and letters on it were so small I had to get a magnifying glass out to see them. The %*!$&@ (six letter word for stupid) thing had enough bells and whistles on it to bewilder a rocket scientist. Needless to say I’m trading it in on a simple senior version.
Example number two — last November my kids started talking about what to give their old daddy for Christmas. My hints went something like this: I like to hunt, fish, golf, read and work in the yard. Anything along those lines would be acceptable. That’s the way us old geezers drop hints — direct and to the point. I should have been more specific because I got something called a Kindle. When I saw the box it came in with that word on it my first thought was that it was something to help me get fires started in the winter. Alas, it was a contraption for reading books and that @#$%^&*+ (eight letter word for extremely repulsive) little piece of technology was in a UPS truck on a return trip to the company before the day was out. I want books with pages in them.
With those two incidents in mind let me outline explicitly some of the things I prefer as gift ideas. If you are getting me socks, get white ones instead of black. White socks are more versatile. You can wear them while working, hunting, fishing and even to church if you are sly – plus they don’t make my feet stink as badly. When it comes to footwear I’ll take tennis shoes over loafers every time, and if you’ve decided on a subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution or the Athens Banner-Herald I want the paper version as opposed to the *&^% $# (six letter word for appalling) online version. I want a newspaper I can carry around in my back pocket all day and pull out the sports page at will.
If you happen to be thinking along the lines of outdoor wear I’ll take some plain old gray sweatshirts, a camo jacket, drab green or brown coveralls with deep pockets, or a pair of boots with regular old fashioned laces.
I’m probably a hypocrite because I have a strict preference for fancy bait casting reels over cane poles, plastic worms over live ones, and boats with motors over those that have to be paddled. Furthermore, I would rather have a camper that has heating, air conditioning and soft beds as opposed to the smothering hot or freezing cold confines of a pup tent on hard ground.
Golf is another area in which I’m quickly becoming a techno-geek. You could send me a driver that will add distance to my ever diminishing length off the tee, balls that produce extra roll, or a set of irons that hold the promise of straight shots.
So despite my moaning about stuff that’s new age I really am coming around into the modern era of sporting equipment. I might even be able to, at some point, learn to like other things of the modern variety. I’m pretty sure however that I’ll never learn to accept black socks, elaborate phones, books on gizmo screens or newspapers that are on a computer.
It will take a few more lustrums before those things happen.
Alvin Richardson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org