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Old man swings dubious advice from the porch

Burt's Eye View

The great philosopher Terri Guillemets once said, “The swing on your porch is a better liver of life than the chair in front of your desk.”

I’ve started my seventh decade and I get that. I craved the dizzying whir of the merry-go-round in my younger days. The faster the better.

The merry-go-round keeps picking up speed but I’m all whirred out. I’m ready for the gentle sway of the porch swing, where I can rock out at a much slower pace, and dispense the wisdom of my years to all who come and seek my vast stores of knowledge.

I explained this to the kid, figuring he’d be eager to be my first front porch customer.

The kid shook his head. “Just because you’re in your 70s…”

“Go back to math class, junior,” I snapped. “My seventh decade means that I’m in my 60s.”

“Well, with your white beard and all, I just assumed…”

“Proverbs 20:29 says, ‘The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.'”

“Right,” the kid said. “That’s why you called me over to move your couch.”

“I couldn’t risk mussing the beauty of this gray hair,” I reasoned.

“White, actually.”

“Do you want the benefit of my wisdom or not?”

“Just because you give advice doesn’t mean that you’re smarter than I am. It means that you’ve done more stupid things than I have.”

“What, did you think wisdom came from books?”

“Of course not,” the kid said. “I learn everything I need to know from Google, TikTok and Instagram.”

“Just because something is on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Abraham Lincoln said that. William Shakespeare said the same goes for Twitter. Now are you going to sit on my front porch and learn or what?”

The kid looked around him. “This is more of a stoop than a porch.”

“My next house will have a porch big enough for a swing. Now park yourself in that lawn chair and shut up.” I tried to rock, but a lawn chair makes a lousy front porch swing. “Here are a few pearls that will make your life so much easier if you are wise enough to heed them.”

I cleared my throat.

“Treadmills were made to hold clothes too dirty for the closet but too clean for the hamper.

“Only people with bad breath want to tell you a secret.

“One of the greatest differences between men and women is that when women say, ‘Smell this,’ it’s usually something pleasant.” I glanced at the kid. “You may want to take notes.”

He shook his head. “Nope. I can remember everything I want to.”

“Ah,” I said. “But there will come a day when you will find yourself digging through the recycling bin looking for the food box because you’ve already forgotten the directions. You won’t remember why you walked into a room — and it will be the bathroom. One day, you will forget people’s names within 15 seconds of being introduced.”

The kid poked at his cellphone. “I have to be getting home now. Maybe we can do this porch swing advice when you have a swing. And a porch.” The kid bolted.

He may not know as much as I do, but he was right on that score. As a sign I saw proclaims, “Life needs more fireflies and front porch swings.”

Or as the great philosopher Ray Bradbury said, “Heaven is a house with porch lights.”

— Sit a spell with Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or www.burtonwcole.com.

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