I was talking to my tax guy recently and he said something so shocking that I asked him to repeat it.
“I was going to discuss what happens to your tax situation when you retire,” he said with a little chuckle. “But then I realized writers never retire. It’s not like you’re just going to stop writing, amiright?”
Well, yes. But I’d never, ever thought about it before. Never retire?
I grew up in a textile mill town and that mindset stays with a person.
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You worked until you turned 65, then you retired and marked the occasion with a few friends, a roasted pig and a keg. A year later, as if by magic, a gently used RV would show up and kill the little strip of grass beside your driveway for 48-52 weeks a year. Right on schedule, 10 years later, the RV would just become just a place to store the grandkids’ Christmas presents, just like God intended.
When I realized that I’d never technically retire, I have to admit it shook me to the core. My tax guy was right. Words were my life. My brain parts began to hurt. (Truthfully, I was OK with the no RV part because, well, camping.)
Writers never retire. My stiffening fingers are having trouble even writing those words right now. I had to ask myself: Does the world really need high-level fart jokes for that long? (Yes) Will I be gumming grits in the Praying Hands Garden of Despair Nursing Home and grinding out pithy weekly essays about President Beiber? (Why not?)
Just as I was digesting this revelation, I came across an article in “Time” magazine that said that Baby Boomers like me could become “an army of millions of gray-haired people, better educated than any previous generation, armed with unprecedented financial resources and decades of experience, ready to solve the practical problems of life.”
Oy, is it ever enough? While “Time” quoted experts saying that Boomers should “stop trying to stay young and instead rally to help people who actually are,” I had to laugh. No self-respecting millennial wants advice from a tech-phobic generation whose members think
Snapchat is a new kind of cola.
Isn’t it enough that we built postwar America? Do we really have to save the next generation, too? The answer seems to be a study that found Boomers are, by choice, more socially isolated than other generations. We have divorced in much greater numbers, rejected family values and traditions and disengaged from social interactions way more than other generations before or since. And now, our lonely rotisserie chickens have come home to roost.
“Time” reported that if we don’t start playing nice with the young folks, we will almost surely die earlier and alone. Speaking of which, does this mole look funny to you?
Writers don’t retire. As I ponder the very real possibility of a Trump presidency, this is no time to quit. I got a pig of my own to roast.
Celia Rivenbark is the New York Times best-selling author of “Rude B****** Make Me Tired.” Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.