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Ice cream for supper

They're all packing up, the party weekend is nearly over, the air will shortly be filled with 'goodbyes' and the coming week beckons me. "Hello," it seems to be saying to me. "Have you got an answer to the question everyone asks?"

And the question? The question is: "Okay, your last day of work has come and gone, now - what are you going to do, now that you're retired? What are you going to do? What are you going to do?" Everyone wants to know.

Every person who has ever retired has likely been asked the same question: "What are you going to do with yourself?" It's like THE standard question. People who have already retired don't ask; they either already have the answer, or they're pretty good at pretending that they do.

The truth of the matter is, I don't know. As much as I'd like to pop right back with a forthright answer, like, I'm going fishing every day (which I'm not), or, I'm going to take up my hobbies full time (which I'm not, there are too many of them, that would be as much like work as work), or, I'm going to build a rocket ship and go to Mars (some folks suspect that I'm from there and need to go back), or, I'm going to get up Monday morning and figure it out. (That's not the answer I give them; they need more assurance than that.)

 People younger than I am are the ones who most seem to need an answer to this question. They seem to be just a bit insecure about the whole retirement thing. The middle-aged ones? They look at me and say, "Oh, I'm so jealous."

Really? How jealous are you? Jealous enough to trade me my age for yours? Hmmmmm? Sometimes I use that reply, and then they stumble a bit as they detect a certain jealousy on my part about them being younger, and able to eat stuff I can't, and do stuff I can't, and stay up later than I can. Then they don't feel quite so bad about finding someone with what must be very attractive life goals waiting for them the Monday after they retire.

Maybe I should make up some stuff to tell them. Like, I'm going to carve a half-scale model of the Queen Mary cruise ship; if I get started Monday, I'll be done by the time I'm a hundred and two.

Maybe there's nothing crazy enough to really satisfy them. Maybe I have to move this into the shock category. What am I going to do? Well, Monday, I've got an appointment with NASA; they need someone older to launch into space with their new magnetic thrust earth ejection technique. I'll mumble something about older cells having more resistance to magnetic fields of force. Then I'll say, too bad you're not old enough yet.

"Really?" They might say.

No, not really. I don't know what I'm going to do. Maybe not get out of bed all day, and then eat ice cream for supper.

Maybe I should say: I'm going to get a sex change operation. See what it feels like to enjoy hot baths, spa weekends and basting myself with every cosmetic product on the market, which is what I've been watching women do my whole life. I'm a bit jealous. So. Hit me up with a big dose of estrogen; I'll go out painting my toenails and feeling the giddy elation that seems to strike women when they chemically coat themselves.

Men rarely feel that elation. Well, that's not true. You hook a six-pound walleye on a light rig, and there's about thirty seconds of pure rapture, so condensed and impactful that it comes and goes while you're holding your breath, while you're wondering if the line is going to break or if this is the time you get that fish into the boat.

 OK. That cuts it. Come Monday, I'm going fishing.

Don't ask.

I hope they bite at noon, cause that's when I'm getting out of bed.