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Asian American Contemporary

ERIC: “Now if you're sitting comfortably... Whether to retire or not can be fraught with anxiety but I'm sure by the end of this you'll agree with me that retiring can be both fun and positive. How about we first explore the options for retirement...?” 


FACTORY MANAGER:” I never finished tenth grade. What's that mean ?”


STOCKBROKER: “It means what you gonna do with yourself when you retire.” 


ERIC” Correct! And whilst I nod and blink with enthusiasm, can everyone be positive about the subject? Well, don't all get in at once…” 


SARGENT: "Uhm.... I guess coming in from the army I'm thinking about 'Old man Henley.'” 


ERIC:” How exciting. Was he your superior?” 


SARGENT: “Uhm, yeah. General. At his retirement party he made one of the best speeches I ever heard about findin' new horizons…” 


Factory Manager: “New horizons?! What, you mean looking after the grand kids... I ain't doin' that!” 


ERIC: “Erm, if the Sargent could finish… “ 


FACTORY MANAGER: (Muttering) “First I slave away in a factory then become a babysitter. Screw that... I raised a son and daughter and both turned out to be complete b######s. No, I ain't looking after no more kids.” 


ERIC: “Erm, thank you for that insightful contribution. Please Sargent, continue…” 


SARGENT: “Well, uhm, let me see now... When the General made that speech everyone in the corp was in tears an’ I mean everyone. Uhm, I never seen that before, it was unheard of. “ 


STROCKBROKER: “How come?” 


SARGENT: “Well, I guess it's ‘cos they served 'der that man. No one else was like him, that son-of-a-gun…” 


ERIC:” Yes, it’s remarkable how infectious... I mean, how effective people can be in a positive sense. And what of his retirement?” 


FACTORY MANAGER: “I'll bet he spent it playing toy soldiers.” 


ERIC:” I really would listen to this everyone. Especially since it sounds a wonderful and positive example of retirement being nothing to fear. Please, Sargent…”


Sargent: “Uhm, well lemme see now. Once he made the speech and the party finished, he walked on out and jumped off the edge of a cliff.” 


FACTORY MANAGER: “What the ###k!”


ERIC: “He what… Oh yes, of course, I see...Erm, a little in the extreme but I suppose it's an option.” [Enthusiastic nodding stops for a minute.] 


FACTORY MANAGER: “Option?! F##k me I ain't doin' that either. F####n' cliff! “ 

ERIC:” Well, I think it’s important to see other possibilities. I mean Sargent, it's quite possible he wanted to experiment with gliding. Had he bought a glider?” 


SARGENT: “Uhm, No.” 


ERIC:”Oh- “  


SILENCE 


ERIC: (Clearing throat.) “Doctor, would you like to contribute something? Something perhaps not as…. How can I say, puzzling.” 


Factory Manager: “I guess, buddy. You been quiet.” 


DOCTOR: “Coming from England, I'm afraid we're rather conditioned not to interrupt when people are talking. Frightfully nice of you to ask what I think.” 


STOCKBROKER: “I don’t get the frightful bit and what do you think?” 


DOCTOR: “Well, I remember I had this rather charming patient. She was getting on a little. You know, thinking of downsizing and retiring. However, she thought retirement an opportunity to experiment with something she hadn't had the opportunity to before.” 


ERIC What a positive example of individual introspection.


FACTORY MANAGER: "Intro what?! Is that a new radio station..."


STOCKBROKER: "No. It means what you think."


ERIC: " Now that we've established introspection, do continue, Doctor with your contribution. What was the opportunity she’d missed?” 


DOCTOR:” Oh, gender change. She wanted to become a man. The problem is at seventy-five it was rather tricky but from what I can remember, she was becoming it. 


STOCKBROKER: “If she'd waited a little more, she would have accomplished it anyway.” 


ERIC: “I don't think I'm quite with you. Would you expand?” 


STOCKBROKER: “When people get old enough, they tend to look the same. Wrinkles don't discriminate. If I showed you photos of two octogenarians, would you be able to guess which was the male and which was the female given neither had a beard? 


FACTORY MANAGER: Say, I think I know what you mean! "


ERIC: “Erm, a rather intriguing insight but gentleman, can we refrain from a knee jerk reaction. Besides, what the Doctor mentioned still constitutes a choice. Gender change is still an option." 


FACTORY MANAGER: “... I have enough problems being me, never mind switching to somethin' else. 


DOCTOR:” Not a bad idea if you're bored with your lot.” 


FACTORY MANAGER: “Well, I ain't bored. I'm frightened.” 


ERIC:” Fright can be a positive emotion but what are you frightened of?” 


FACTORY MANAGER: “Look, I been a blue-collar dude for decades then promoted to factory manager. Ain't nothing changed much. My leg I can't move and standing more than twenty minutes is too much. I gotta retire, and soon. But what the heck would I do with myself…” 


ERIC: “In a philosophical sense it embellishes a classic conundrum. Any contributions gentlemen?”


SARGENT: “Uhm, gardening.”


STOCKBROKER:” Clipping hedges.”


DOCTOR: “Volunteer lab specimens.” 


FACTORY MANAGER:” Uh -uh. I ain't doin' any of that.” 


ERIC: “I would say gentleman, you're getting the idea. One of the biggest advantages of retiring is having the opportunity of choosing a hobby. For example, you could gradually extend gardening to eight hours daily. Or go on a cruise for the next ten years, trapped. No, I don't mean trapped, I mean... Well, it's an opportunity to mull things over.”  


DOCTOR: “If I could interject...I suppose one of the challenges is having a reduced income.”


Factory Manager: “I didn't think income was a problem for you, Doc.”  

DOCTOR: “It isn't. The problem is when you retire some of your identity vanishes. For most of us it's that is you're not required as much before. It's as if you have gone into obscurity.” 


FACTORY MANAGER: “Man. I get that. At least in the factory I exist.” 


ERIC:” Look gentleman, I really think we ought to be a little more positive. Retirement isn't necessarily an abyss. Perhaps a cruise ship was a bad example but what about spending more time with your spouse, being more available to others and seeing friends. Isn't my nodding helping?” 


SARGENT:” Uhm, I don't have spouse.”


FACTORY MANAGER: "I hate my friends.”


STOCKBROKER: “I only have stock in futures.” 


DOCTOR: “If I could interject, as the Sargent mentioned before, though that seemed more a mystery, there is still the option of euthanasia if you don't mind a ride to Switzerland. Or cryogenics.” 


Factory Manager:” C - R- Y - O what !?” 


DOCTOR: “That's when they freeze people in nitrogen compound and revive them a century later. A little similar to hibernating.” 


SILENCE. 


FACTORY MANAGER: "What the frig you wanna do that for ?” 


ERIC: “I agree, we should query certain ideas but what the Doctor mentioned is once again, another option! I suppose it's about enjoying retirement a hundred years into the future rather than now.”  


DOCTOR:” Yes, I believe the phrase is 'deferred benefits.'” 


FACTORY MANAGER: “What if the firm goes outta sync or they forgetch about you?” 


DOCTOR:” I'm afraid it's a possibility.” 


STOCKBROKER:" Shit. "


ERIC: “Erm, perhaps we ought to change the subject. Sargent, I sense you were you about to contribute something?” 


SARGENT: “Uhm, I was: thinking, when was the last time anyone had a meatloaf sandwich...?”













October 08, 2022 01:43

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