I met a gray haired lady on the walk at work the other day.

She said,  "Oh,  I thought you'd retired?"

At that, I got quite contrite, pointed to my hair, and said,

"Do I look that gray?"


From her look, I'd say she was about 69.

As a faculty member, it was fine,

For her to stay and stay.

I never questioned if she was retiring from teaching,

Every year, in that same old, hackneyed way.


I get that a lot these days,

Sometimes in subtle ways,

But mostly in blunt pronouncements of what I ought,

From people without an ounce of thought.


Who think that my brain no longer works,

Because, from where they sit, I no longer fit,

As a productive member of the organization,

And, worst of all, they expect me to accept it.


It is as if knowledge, skill, and experience,

No longer fit.  So they hire a bunch of new kids,

And watch them fail, because they have no mentors,

No continuity at all. 


The quality of their work,

Leaves much to be desired,

Makes me wonder why,

They ever were hired.


I can still do better work than them,

With my little finger,

But youth and beauty, and perceived vigor.

Win out, in the end, over hard won rigor.


So, I'll just bide my time,

And outlast those with envy.

Then when they call up from their forced retirement,

And ask me that eternal question.


I'll say, "When I'm damn good and ready."


Copyright 1999 (c) Ronald W. Hull



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