Today I thought I’d document a few of the Old Guys whom I share the title of Old Guys, with. Where to begin ? What with so many colourful characters, choosing one to introduce first is a daunting task. OK, how’s about I start with one you’ll recognize right away. We all have one of these in our neighbourhoods, and I call mine :
Capt. BS is the reason jokes like “those 3 little words men can’t say – I Don’t Know” are still funny today, and always will be. He’s a likeable enough fellow. Always willing to help (whether you wish his help or not). Perhaps I should clarify that. He’s always willing to help with unsolicited advice. “Hands-on” ain’t gonna happen, which is probably just as well, because the one time he did help, he screwed it up so bad, he had to make up an excuse to go Home … right away. But, fear not, he was back the next day to critique and explain what I did wrong, and that it will never last. Not like his has lasted anyway.
“That fence of mine’s been there for likely (the word likely means he hasn’t a clue, so he’s gonna guess how long you’ve lived in the neighbourhood, and add a decade onto it) “20 years ! Maybe 25 years, yeah, 30 years”. His memory is atrocious, so you’ll remember watching it being built 15 years ago. Therefore, yours has been standing longer than his. But you’ll never convince him of that, so you don’t even bother trying.
He spent most of his working Life at some obscure, distant factory (say like, Union Sprocket) where he gained all his remarkable knowledge. The other 30 years were spent collecting various forms of worker’s compensation benefits while recuperating at Home. All his knowledge is from experience, no education of any kind so the few things he does know, he can’t explain why. He just knows. Unfortunately, I can count the few things he knows on less than one hand. When you try to relieve some stress on a Friday evening by venting about the Boardroom performances of your peers, he’ll fly into a 30 minute dissertation on how he also hated being “in Management” at (you guessed it, good old) Union Sprocket. I understand he filled in an hour one afternoon for a Foreman. That was the extent of his “Management” experience as far as I’ve determined.
Will I. Eustanoaguy
This one followed Capt. BS Home from the coffee shop one day, and thus began nearly 3 years of … everytime you said or displayed anything, he’d pipe up with “Well I used to know a guy…”. Will was a self-employed, destitute, lazy, incompetent brick-laying piss-tank. But at least he wasn’t a bullsh!tter. Not about his own stuff anyway. Mainly because he didn’t have any stuff, so it woulda been difficult to BS about it. HOWEVER, no matter what you had, he used to know a guy with something better. AND, he lent it to Will, who tried it … AND it was truly better than yours. I once lent him my recipro-saw and his “on again – off again” business partner made an impressed sound when he saw it. “Hmm, a Makita, that’s nice” Dan said shaking his head to the positive. “Oh well, yeah, it’s OK for him, he’s just a Home owner not contractors like us” Will blurted out. “You mean contractors like you who are so successful you can’t afford the tools you need to do your job, so you gotta borrow them from Home owners like me” I asked with my right eyebrow raised. Dan grinned and turned away. Will then launched into a Marxist rant about the bourgeoisie, over-paid Upper Management sorts (meaning me) oppressing the common working man. ‘Course Capt. Bullsh!t just had to be standing there hearing that. So he heaves into yet another ½ hour testimonial about “when I was in Management … ” Have you ever found yourself praying to God for a frickin’ tornado ?
Professor I. Noah Betterway
The Professor always has a better way of doing things than you. Not that it’ll make any kind of sense in any way imaginable. One time Prof. Betterway wandered through my back gate to find me cleaning and polishing a bevelled crystal and brass lantern. He watched for a few seconds before sharing a little jewel of knowledge with me. “You know what the best thing for cleaning glass is don’t ya?”. Then he stands there looking at me like he held the secrets of the ages and creation of the universe on his lips. With a weary sigh I said “No I’m sure I don’t know what the best …” he cut me off mid-sentence with, “Brasso !!” he assured me. “Brasso ?” I asked. “Yeah, Brasso” he assured me again. “You’re suggesting I take a caustic corrosive, microcrystalline grinding compound medium to crystal?” I asked. “Yup” he nodded his head. You just gotta know he didn’t understand 6 of the last 13 words I just said, but that didn’t matter none. I gave up and said “Ahhhhhh, that’s an interesting idea” hoping he’d go away soon. But he wasn’t through yet, not by a long shot. “And the best thing for brass ? Ya know what that is ?” Now he’s grinning like Hannibal Lecter and I’m looking ‘round for an escape route. Before I can admit to a lack of such knowledge he blurts out, “Windex !”. “So you’re suggesting I should use an ammonium based chemical to deoxidize a cupric/stannic alloy?” I ask, knowing damned well he wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what that meant, nor its significance. “That’s right” he assured me with raised eyebrows. “Why wouldn’t I just use the Brasso on the brass, and the Windex on the glass ?” I asked in exasperation. “Well … you can … I suppose” he ruefully admitted. Though I’m sure it wouldn’t be as good.
This one claims to have uber-successful remote, distant, relatives you’ll never meet for all description of reasons (the most obvious being – they never existed). One day the Councillor told me his Aunt was the first female Dean of Osbourne Hall (yes, he meant Osgoode Hall at York University, but … every time he mentions it, I get this vision of Ozzy Osbourne in Judge’s robes cussing down a plaintiff… and then I laugh). A few weeks later she was the Dean of Osmond Hall (then I got this vision of … aww never mind). Most recently it was Osland Hall (a local farm family who opened a market on Hwy #2 recently). All this was spawned by the story of his Grand-daughter who’s taking Law at some College down East. I did manage to find the place on the I’Net. There’s no Law courses offered there so, Hell if I know what she’s taking. He had another Aunt who was the Head of the Cdn Dairy Board. A week later, she was his niece. Oh yes ! And his Uncle was the Head of Ontario Hydro. Councillor Goodblood isn’t exactly unremarked in History himself either. He single-handedly wrote the Ontario Worker’s Safety Handbook. You’ve never heard of it because the Gov’t stole it and based the entire Canadian Health Care System on it. And he never saw one thin dime for it either, “F**kin’ government” he assured me. He also authored the Canadian Fork-truck Safety Manual that remains the same today, as the day he finished writing it just after fork-trucks were invented. His Great Grandfather dug the St. Lawrence you know. OK now I’m just being a facetious asshole. Ignore me.
Corporal I. M. Lowded
The Corporal’s a Financial wizard, who made his fortune by investing heavily in the Canadarm … ‘cause … he knew. Yeah, he basically designed it himself. Well, he had nothing to do with it, but they designed it just like he would’ve, so he knew it’d work. He made a fortune from it though. That’s why he lives down the street from my 25’ X 25’ one and a half storey mansion on a massive 50’ X 100‘ estate on a street the town won’t even bother to plow ‘til 3 days (and a couple of irate phone calls) after a snowstorm. Nothing like livin’ the dream eh ? Not only that, but everyone he knows is at least a millionaire. His old buddy Dan has 20 acres of rotting, rusting old cars, trucks, and busses that are worth millions of dollars. Just in the metal value alone !! Some of the busses are made of solid gold I guess. His son clears $135,000.00/ year too, what with overtime eh ?
One day the Corporal will tell me he’s cashing in his RSSP’s and transferring it all to his FSTA account, and the next, he’s gonna sell off his stocks for a “six figure return”. I’m sure the .00 on the end of the dollars is included in that “six figure” calculation. If only the World would listen to him, we’d all be billionaires. He always knows exactly what to do during a financial crisis. Every time something goes wrong in the World of finance, he knew it was gonna happen, and tried to tell ‘em. But … nobody’d listen, and now we’re all paying the price. Gawd – Damnit ! Doncha just hate it when that happens ?
Mr. Izzy Fulashitorwot
Everything Izzy owns is the best. It doesn’t matter if the manufacturer comes forward and admits to the World that their product is pure, unadulterated S-H-I-T, ‘cause … he got “the good one”. Everything else they make is an abomination of all things righteous and holy, but he got “the good one”. Even the other ones with the same make, model, and serial numbers on them are all crap, except his. ‘Cause, he got “the good one”. And it’s not just “the good one” either. “It’s heavy duty … it’s Industrial !”. Every damned thing he owns is “heavy duty … industrial !”. I kid you not, the man once told me his roll of black electrical tape was “the good one, because … “It’s heavy duty … it’s Industrial!”
‘Course everything he owns is better ‘n yours. If your cordless drill has a bigger battery than his ? “That’s no good, you can’t keep a charge on 12 volt batteries, you shoulda got an 8 volt like mine !” If you bought a disposable paint brush from the Dollar Store ? “Those things are no damned good, you shoulda got one from Benjamin Moore. They’ll last forever, and save you money in the long run. That’s what I do”. If you bought a paint brush from Benjamin Moore ? “Those things are no damned good. You shoulda bought from the Dollar Store. 4 of ‘em for a dollar. You coulda saved yourself a fortune. When are you gonna start listening to me?”. That’s the point at which I make an excuse to go Home before I tell him exactly when I’m gonna start listening to him. Izzy is a victim of a tragically common affliction. Somewhere inside every conversation are the phrases “I’m not stupid. They think I’m stupid, but I’m not!” No Izzy, I don’t think you’re stupid. But I think you do.
Officer Al Reddyneuthat
Should you tell Al of a recent discovery or learning experience, his immediate response will be “Well, I coulda told ya that”. Well, no, he couldn’t have, until you told him first but … how are you gonna prove that now ? Then he’ll repeat what you just said to prove that he already knew all that. Then, he ruins any possibility of convincing anyone of actual prior knowledge by adding some homespun crap proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that he hasn’t the first clue. If you try to argue the fresh bullsh!t, he’ll insist over and over that it’s true. He sincerely believes that if he insists strong and long enough, it’ll somehow become the truth. It’s kinda like his weather predictions, his memory is incredibly accurate when discussing things that happened before you were born, but he doesn’t remember predicting rain the day before 3 days of dry, blistering heatwave. ‘Course, he knows why the weather’s so messed up. “It’s all that bombing they’re doing over there … in … Iraq ! And every time they used to send one of those rockets up into space, the weather gets all frigged up a few months later. D’jever notice that? I sure as Hell did”. A few months later ? Would that be like, maybe, the next season ? Maybe that’s why the Fall weather gets all frigged up a few months later when it becomes WINTER ? I often wonder if he ever listens to himself.
Ranger the Old Guy
Ranger is one of those guys who you can be separated from for a decade, call him up, get together, and feel like you saw him yesterday. The frickin’ guy can get along with anybody, anywhere, anytime. Never gets excited, angry, vindictive, upset, moody, bitchy, difficult, arrogant, argumentative, demanding, nor has he any other undesirable traits. He laughs with ease and comfort, doesn’t even know how to lie, much less bullsh!t you. AND … if he doesn’t know the answer to your rhetorical query, he says “Hmm, that’s a good question, maybe it’s …” Or “Haven’t given it much thought, I suppose we could try …” The point is, if he doesn’t know, he’s not afraid to say so. That’s why he’s smarter than your average Old Guy, and that’s why we get along. Together, we ponder, explore, research, experience, and learn, constantly. There’s no competition, no secrets, no hidden agenda, just 2 old guys enjoying good company.
Yeah – between the wife and the Ranger, I’m one damned lucky Old Guy.