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07 December 2011 @ 11:28 pm
The Real LJ Idol: "Like I Was Sayin'"  
Like I Was Sayin'
Real LJ Idol | week seven | 380 words
Bupkis.

x-x-x-x-x

You work hard all your life, try to get something going—a penny for a rainy day, right? Maybe you manage to carve out a little corner somewhere, a little house on a pretty-good street, nothing fancy. You raise a family of decent kids, even if they hardly ever visit any more, and—

Where do you think you're going? Sit down already, I'm talking. You young people, where're your manners? Always rushing off like you've got someplace else to be…

So, you put the effort in, trust it'll take you somewhere. It might kill you first. Did I ever tell you about my heart? This godawful pain comes out of nowhere, boom. I can hardly breathe—feels like I'm dying. The guys in the ambulance won't tell me what's going on, and I have to wait for this schmuck of a doctor at the hospital to come by, only then it's three hours later. 'Angina,' he says, and tells me to cut down on the stress and start eating the kind of crap rabbits live off of. I said to myself, Wait—I worked like a dog all those years for this? You've got to be kidding me.

If you're lucky, you wind up getting old. That's the big prize waiting around the corner. You wake up old and tired, with bad knees, and your blood pressure's going through the roof. If you don't have a hobby, you'd better get one, 'cause daytime television is for the birds. On the good days, you maybe start with the paper and a cup of coffee, and then you stretch out the chores and errands nice and slow. Before you know it, it's time for the Early Bird discount at Denny's.

The bad days, you wonder how you got here. After my Louise passed on (God rest her soul), I had an awful lot of those. They're no fun, let me tell you.

Grandkids help, so don't skimp on those. Otherwise, you become one of those pathetic fossils, those weirdos with nothing left but a pension and a few inches of dirt, guys who waste their time obsessing over the slightest little—

Hey! Yeah, you, with the clown pants and the stupid hat, I'm talking to you:

Get the hell off my lawn!





If you enjoyed this entry, please vote for it in the block here.

 
 
 
Danmuchtooarrogant on December 8th, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
LOL Your ending is absolutely perfect.

There's a taxi guy I use locally whose been driving me around for years, and he recently had heart surgery. I honestly wasn't sure if he was going to live for a while because he kept going into the hospital for small heart attacks, but kept putting the surgery off. Anyway, now he's had the surgery, feels great, but is totally eating that rabbit food you mention. The guy's only a little over fifty. *shudder*

Great entry!

Dan
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 9th, 2011 02:04 am (UTC)
There's something about the irony of oblivious people that always amuses me. That "narcissism" prompt was pure gold that way.

I'm always horrified when someone hardly past 50 has a heart-attack. We lost a wonderful contractor to one of those about 3 years ago, and it must have been such a shock to his wife and kids. Such a nice guy, and he sure wasn't sedentary. I think your cabbie is lucky the surgery worked, and even moreso that he's actually feeling better. He's making the most of that second chance, clearly!

But rabbit food by mandate... I'll admit, that does not sound inspiring. :0

(no subject) - muchtooarrogant on December 9th, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Kizzyxo_kizzy_xo on December 8th, 2011 11:05 pm (UTC)
You just described a man who lives over on the next block from me. He's the one who yells whenever he sees my husband and I walking our dogs, even if we're nowhere near his lawn.

OTOH retirement is so, so difficult for many people. I pray that all of us are as active as we are now when we get to that age.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 9th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
Pre-emptive tantrums are just no good for anyone, and sometimes they inspire the very behavior the person is trying to ward off. ;)

But I agree with you, I think retirement is hard for a lot of people. It's been rough on my Dad (who finally admitted to being fully retired at 85), while my mother was eager to retire from the same profession. Too much of my Dad's identity stemmed from his work, which is often more true for men than women.

I hope to be as healthy as my parents at that age, who are in awfully good shape. My grandparents were much "older" by then, and I think most of us (so long as we practice good health) will be doing better than our parents and grandparents. *crosses fingers*

Thanks for reading!
(no subject) - xo_kizzy_xo on December 9th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on December 9th, 2011 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
whipchickwhipchick on December 9th, 2011 11:05 am (UTC)
Great voice - you make this character so clear!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 9th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I had a lot of fun writing this one-- this guy kills me. :)
theafayetheafaye on December 9th, 2011 01:50 pm (UTC)
We're not planning on retiring. I can't see myself ever falling into that unless poor health forces it upon me and it's not like a pension will give us enough to live on (not that I have one of those any more).

And I must say, I do so love your ending!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 9th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
That's one way to avoid the trap. I think volunteering really helps, too, if you DO ever retire. Feeling as if you have a "purpose" in the world is more important than I think many of us realize.

Except maybe for slackers. They're kind of "prematurely retired." ;)

The ending here seemed perfect for this guy, because he knows where his situation can lead and yet is completely oblivious to the fact that he's already there. :D
Cri Cri Cut Fan Club Presidentrumplebuttkins on December 9th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
Hilarious! And, really, what's up with those stupid hats?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 9th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Haha! I envision those droopy stocking caps, and I don't know why that's a fashion. It's kind of like wearing an "Idiot" sign around your neck!
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 9th, 2011 06:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you-- that's exactly what I was going for!

I feel like I know this guy too, or at least that I've overheard him at the hardware store, or a gas station minimart. :D
the middle of the road's fine with no cars aroundnoodledays on December 9th, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)
haha, cute humor in this. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 10th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
Thank you! The oblivious narrator is one of my favorite humor devices, and this guy pretty much defines that. :D
bewizebewize on December 10th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
WIN!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 12th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
Hee! Thank you!
java_fiendjava_fiend on December 10th, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
Too funny. lol... I love the voice of this character. It's seriously great and so engaging. Nicely done!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 12th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
So glad you enjoyed it!

This guy's blather seemed the epitome of the prompt to me, and he both generates the verbal "bupkis" and also, inadvertantly, describes it.

I think it's way more fun to overhear characters like this (and I have), than to be the victim of their imparted wisdom rant. ;)
Myrnamyrna_bird on December 10th, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)
LOL. This was so funny and portrays the stereotype for this character just perfectly.

If you're lucky, you wind up getting old.
Duh! I love that line. Hilarious.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 12th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I had a lot of fun writing this one-- I get a kick out of curmudgeons, and this guy is one in spades.

And even better, almost completely unaware of it. Aren't they always? :D
(no subject) - myrna_bird on December 12th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
basric: BASRIC WHITE TREE GIFbasric on December 10th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)
It was amusing and I liked it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 12th, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Where are you getting all of these amazing icons? They're so beautiful!
Jessica Ariel: Gameliret on December 11th, 2011 07:41 am (UTC)
I really like this - monologues can easily seem artificial, but I get a good sense of the character and the speech pattern seems very natural.

Edited at 2011-12-11 07:42 am (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Bookshalfshellvenus on December 12th, 2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it!

I mostly write fanfic, where I avoid first-person entirely, and I've grown to love dialogue and how you can use it for characterization and plot. It's been fun trying out monologue for LJ Idol, and trying to keep it from being static or unrealistic. Characters' voices are so vivid to me in fanfic, and it's been a nice surprise to discover that first-person fictional characters can be too! In all their thorny glory. ;)
la, zeitgeist!: [gloomy] graveyardzeitgeistic on December 11th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
*giggle* This was fun and so true.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 12th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

It's almost as if we've all met this guy, or (worse) are in danger of becoming him. :0

Keep moving, and maybe we can outrun it! :D
Lose 10 Pounds of Ugly Fat...  Cut Off Your Head.n3m3sis42 on December 12th, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
I think I identified with this post a little more than I should have considering I'm "only" 35. Good one!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 12th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
Haha! Me, too-- at least the part about the clown pants and the stupid hat. I've seen those guys, and I feel the same way about them as he does!
Ellakiteellakite on December 12th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC)
Well, you know what they say:
It's no fun getting old... but it beats the alternative!

A very nice post. Thanks for sharing.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 12th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Well, you know what they say:
It does!

And while it's hard to fix your health after the fact, you can do better on the way there.

The rest has more to do with your mental state after retirement than anything, I'm convinced. But if you let yourself become a crank, well... it's all self-fulfilling after that!

Thanks for reading!