Jerry Della Femina
WHY YOU MUST NEVER RETIRE
-I’m in Miami visiting my beautiful, incredibly brilliant grandson Teddy, who is four months old. In the meantime, this is a rerun of a column that ran a few years ago. Hope you enjoy it.
WHY YOU MUST NEVER RETIRE Lately, just about everyone I know has been asking me the same question: “Hey Jerry, you're looking good. When are you going to retire?” This frightens me because I’m thinking they are saying to themselves, “God, Jerry looks terrible. I hope he retires so that he can enjoy his last few days in Florida, so at least when he is ready for his ‘dirt nap,’ he’ll go to meet his maker with a nice healthy-looking tan.” My answer is I will NEVER retire and I must point to the piece below titled “Don’t Retire,” which was sent to me a few years ago by my old (and best) partner Ron Travisano. I find it hilarious. If the person who wrote it steps forward, I will be happy to give him or her credit. It’s so funny because it’s so true. “Don’t Retire.” For those of you contemplating retirement, I would like to share my retirement experiences with you, which I hope will be helpful. Fifteen years ago, my wife and I moved into a retirement development on Florida’s southeast coast. The last time we saw our grandkids was on Grandchildren’s Day, when they were dragged down by their parents. We were living in the Delray/Boca/Boynton Golf, Spa, Bath, and Tennis Club on Lake Fake-a-hachee. (There are 3000 lakes in Florida; only three are real.) Our new community has so many interesting things for us to do. Back by popular demand, the feisty Hip Replacement Tappers Club will be tap dancing to the “Flight of the Bumblebee.” It promises to be quite a production, with lots of singing and dancing. This year, I am not in the cast but will be standing by with the defibrillator volunteers. Our biggest retirement concern was time management. What were we going to do all day? Let me assure you, passing the time is not a problem. Your days will be eaten up by simple daily activities. Just getting out of your car takes 15 minutes. Trying to find where you parked takes 20 minutes. It takes a half-hour on the checkout line in Walmart, and one hour to return the item the next day. Then, of course, there are the visits to the doctor and dentist offices. Let me take you through a typical day. We get up at 5 AM, have a quick breakfast, and join the early morning Walk and Talk Club. There are about 30 of us and, rain or shine, we walk around the streets, all talking at once. Every development has some late risers who stay in bed until 6 AM. After a nimble walk, avoiding irate drivers out to make us road kill, we go back home, shower, and change for the next activity. My wife goes directly to the pool for her underwater Pilates class, followed by gasping for breath and CPR. I put on my “Ask me about my grandchildren” T-shirt, my mid-calf shorts, my socks and sandals, and go to the clubhouse lobby for a nice nap. Before you know it, it’s time for lunch. We’re usually back home by 2 PM to get ready for dinner. People start lining up for the early bird at about 3 PM, but we get there by 3:45 because we are late eaters. The dinners are very popular because of the large portions they serve. You can take home enough food for the next day’s lunch and dinner, including extra bread, crackers, Sweet’N Low packets and mints. At 5:30 we’re home, ready to watch the 6:00 news. By 6:30, we’re fast asleep. Then, we get up and make five or six trips to the bathroom during the night, and it’s time to get up and start a new day all over again. Doctor-related activities will eat up most of your retirement time. I enjoy reading old magazines in sub-zero temperatures in the waiting room, so I don’t mind. Calling for test results also helps the days fly by. It takes at least half an hour just getting through the doctor’s phone menu. Then, there is the hold time until you are connected to the right party. Sometimes they forget you are holding, and the whole office goes to lunch. Many of the receptionists are quite rude. They keep you standing at that dopey little closed glass window, totally ignoring you. After a half-hour I ignore the “Do not tap on the window” sign, and tap on the window. This always drives them nuts. If you do, they put down their Egg McMuffin or their copy of the Enquirer and fling open the window, ready for a fight. I lie, explaining I tapped on the window accidentally because I have Parkinson’s. They claim they are required to keep the window closed because of the privacy law, but I don’t believe it. Are they afraid if I were to overhear that Sol Lipshitz has hemorrhoids I would blackmail him or sell the information to a foreign government? In Florida, everyone has hemorrhoids! Should one find they still have time on their hands, volunteering provides a rewarding opportunity to help the less fortunate. Florida has the largest concentration of seniors under five feet and they need our help. I myself am a volunteer for “The Vertically Challenged Over 80.” Food shopping is a problem for short seniors, or “bottom feeders,” as we call them, because they can’t reach the items on the upper shelves. There are many foods they have never tasted. Whenever I see one of them struggling to reach a jar of gefilte fish, I rush over to lend a hand. After shopping, most seniors can’t remember where they parked their cars. They wander the parking lot for hours looking for their car while their food defrosts. Lastly, it’s important to choose a development with an impressive name. Italian names are very popular in Florida. They convey ... world traveler, uppity sophistication, and wealth. Where would you rather live ... Murray’s Condos or the Lakes of Venice? There is no difference. They are both owned by Murray, who happens to be a cheap bastard! The Italian names appeal to those name-dropping, phony snowbirds who are out to impress their friends up north. I once heard someone say, “We spend our summers in the Catskills, but we winter at Villa Borghese in Delray Beach.” I have been to Villa Borghese. There are 1200 Jews and two Italians! I hope this material has been of some help to you future retirees. If I can be of any further assistance, please look me up when you’re in Florida. I live in the Leaning Condos of Pisa in Boynton Beach. -If you wish to comment on “Jerry’s Ink” please send your message to email@example.com