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The Cranky Old Retired Lady
Opinions, wailings and observations of a cranky, old retired lady on life after 50.

Appreciate Your College Opportunities Kids: They Are a Gift From Past Old People

Note:  From here on out I won't be posting blogs here but on my Crank Old Retired Lady Facebook page.  When your old and cranky it is kinda tough to keep up with more than one blog-type-are.  Thanks for reading here.

Observations of the week have fostered the growth of another OPINION in my little flower bed of crankiness.

In the past few years I find it increasingly disturbing that certain groups of young people (let's say the under 30 crowd) seem to feel entitled to everything these days. Especially their post-secondary experiences. And since I am just a cranky old retired lady who has walked the earth like an ancient, but not yet extinct dinosaur, I can name names so to speak. So ya'll I am tired of young black people, young women, young immigrants and young people with disabilities not to mention the LGBTQ crowd and others screaming that life is soooooo unfair to them because they are "put upon" yet they very seldom acknowledge that people way, way, way before them fought long and hard and lost their lives in many cases so you could whine in present time about how unfair the world is to you. A lot of people suffered to give you opportunities--going to college being one. In the current age you wanna blame it all on politics? Seriously? You tell me the Constitution and the Bill of Rights promise you things? Seems like these days everyone is screaming about how unfair their lives are from their dorm rooms at very expensive colleges where getting a hang nail is a major crisis and you need safe rooms to survive disappointment.

Well, my little snowflakes, you are there getting your college degree because people born generations before you fought tooth and nail and put it all on the line so you could whine from your $40,000 a year college campus and go in debt for your educations via government subsidized loans meaning that a large portion of your degree, has been most likely subsidized or paid for by the American Tax Payer in some form or another. Of which I am one.

So before you you burn my flag because America is so horrible how about I burn your student visa that lets you be here at an American university (probably getting American financial aid)? Please don't start lecturing to me at my age about how tough life is until you review a few things. Back when I was a kid (I've waited six decades to say that by the way) only about 20% of people went to college and you went because you needed it to GET A JOB, unless you were a "draft dodger" way back in the 60s and 70s and didn't wanna go slog through the endless, wet , stinking jungles of Viet Nam and get your hiney shot at because you generally got an educational deferment so you could complete said education. And BTW vets, good job to those who had the guts to do leave the comforts of a dry, warm USA and fight. Fear and discomfort was pretty motivating to go become a teacher or social worker... Or maybe you should contemplate how Democrat Governor George Wallace was telling young black people they couldn't go to those very colleges back then. Women were not so welcome either. But those are different rants ladies and gentlemen. The point is, college was not an automatic "gimme" and if you needed a degree to pursue your chosen occupation it was a different attitude than today where people do things "bass ackwards" as my dad used to say. You don't go to college to find what you wanna do my dear snowflakes. You do your research and find how you wanna earn your living and THEN find the training that helps you do that which may be a college degree. Or not.

College should not be an automatically provided extension of your tax payer high school education. You "do" college because you need it to get to a vocational goal. It's not summer camp for pity sake! But if you have to go to college to fulfill your chosen career path via higher ed, please don't lecture me about how rough it is until you have thanked those people who fought long and hard so you could be there. No one owes you a living so stop blaming Trump or conservatives or politics in general and take advantage of the opportunity you have to get your education or training or whatever you are doing so you can survive the rest of your lives instead of being eternal children.

I don't wanna pay for your permanent vacation without a compelling reason as I am most likely subsidizing your school career in some form through my taxes. Many of my generation remember the phrase "working my way through college." And we did literally. So, at least have a little appreciation for what people before you gave up and sacrificed so you could be where you are today because if you are jobless and homeless and camp out on my yard you are most definitely getting off my lawn.

Doggedly Pursuing Pups

When I retired from a busy working life I decided to get a dog.  I always wanted a dog.  My visions were for long, leisurely walks with my camera slung over my shoulder (one with REAL FILM and not some phone camera) on the country roads that surround my home.  Said dog would keep me company, because you know, retired people are all lonely people. Unless you are in Florida, where apparently no one is lonely because they have discovered casual sex.  I am glad to report we did get the rock-n-roll and drugs part of the equation correct ‘cause we like us some vintage Seger (Bob not Pete) and at our ages we are ALL on drugs of some kind. 

When you look at various WHO studies and CDC statistics for STDs or VDs or STIs or whatever they call it these days, retirement-age folks are allegedly highly sexually active; we just don’t use “protection” and from what I understand monogamy at the ACME senior living facility is no longer in vogue.  News flash, we finally discovered the sexual revolution, the one we were too naive to participate in, or for you English majors out there, in which we were too naïve to participate.  We were just 40 years too late.   Since I don’t live in Florida with the swinging retirement crowd that seeks warmer weather, more company and uh, "companionship" I opted for a dog.  Much safer companionship if you wish to avoid embarrassing discussions with your family doctor regarding your private parts.   

The last decade of my working life my job was a usually an eight hour day with a two-hour round trip commute.  Since I didn’t want to put my dog in “day care” or a crate or come home to a living room full of scattered couch stuffing, broken furniture and shredded draperies amounting to a level of damage that could rival the havoc  generated by the Memphis Belle during a German bombing run, I figured ten hours of alone time was not a good life to give a dog.  Ten hours of waiting to pee while you contemplated why your owner abandoned you every day seemed an unfair fate to bestow on a loyal little beast waiting so patiently for your return home. So I waited to get a dog until I retired and was home all day and could be there. 

Getting a dog was a long process of research, prowling the internet, talking to people and finding a breed that matched my life style.  And it finally happened.  The French Bulldog, via rescue, appeared in my life complete with Heavenly choir music and sparkling shimmers of light—halo clad angels optional.  For those who are not familiar with the breed they possess enormous eyes that can stop you in your tracks.  Their smushed-in faces, complete with bat-like, oversized ears and huge heads are stuck onto short, stocky bodies that resemble curled up hippopotamuses (or is that hippopotami?) with short necks serving as connection for both features.  They are stubborn, don’t listen that well and prefer to sleep or lay on the couch most of the day and produce copious amounts of gas.  Since we older people tend to be stubborn, can’t listen that well without a hearing aid (the Frenchie most likely ate it if it is missing)  and generally spend the day sitting on the couch or sleeping producing copious amounts of gas, French Bulldogs and oldsters are a pretty brilliant match upon reflection.  Despite these enduring characteristics, I have two of these creatures living in ma “crib” in hilarious but perfect harmony.  Both are rescue dogs—throw-aways—for reasons I don’t fully understand but the heart breaker of the pair is Ruthie. 

When I sit on my porch sipping coffee in the quiet of my back-country, dirt-road-world I feel a certain amount of satisfaction.  As my other dog, Fen snores at my feet, Ruthie uses my fenced front yard to run.  She runs after butterflies, bugs and birds.  If it floats, flutters or flies she is captivated.  If she can’t track the birds themselves she track their shadows and gives chase stretching full out, leaping through the fresh green grass of an early summer.  She stops, turns making a wide circle and begins again chasing what she cannot catch until she flops down on the lawn or trots over to the kiddie pool full of water I keep in a corner just for her.  After getting warm from all that running, she climbs in like an awkward toddler struggling to climb into his crib pulling herself over the edge with front feet hooked on the edge and hind legs struggling to crawl over the edge to cool, delicious water. She drinks some and then trots around the tiny wading pool.  She digs the bottom of her water paradise enthusiastically with both front paws and then dives under.  She makes circles and flops down on her rotund, jet black belly enjoying a good soak until she is cooled off and then hops out and runs to me to stand up and plant her dripping paws on my knee.  It doesn’t matter if I get wet.  I don’t have to be in an office any more. 

So I sip coffee and listen to the birds and stroke the head of a one-eyed, five-year-old, ex-puppy mill dog that lived half her life in a tiny 3x3  foot cage until she became a liability and was dumped at a shelter a few years ago.  My other dog became had it some better.  He became too hard to handle and was given up by a couple but his life seemed more comfortable than Ruthie’s—his home was somewhat normal with a real house and real people who got him as a tiny pup and at least tried to be a family with him.  Ruthie was a commodity confined to a puppy prison factory—a sentence she really didn’t deserve.  My broken dogs—creatures that need far more attention than a working person could provide--in a way turned my retirement into their life preserver.  It worked out well for a cranky, old, retired lady and her two dogs.

The hour is late.  I have to go put my old records back on the shelf and check the lawn for wayward children and tell them to get off my lawn.  We seem to need it more than they can appreciate.  Peace all.

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