Metro-East News

Out of retirement, sort of: Wally Spiers returns

OK. I’m back.

I know, I know. I retired, I said, and had a big party at the end of last year. But this new adventure is only going to be once a week. I think.

I love retirement. I’m great at it. As I see it, my main job now is to stay out of the way of the rest of the world. No problem. I’m uniquely qualified to do nothing. It is my destiny.

Retirement is kind of like summers when you were a kid. I used to do nothing for weeks on end except play baseball. Oh, sure, there were chores, like mowing the yard, but they never took very long.

So now I hang around the barber shop, read books, walk a lot and do yard chores when I have to. When I walk uptown, I do my imitation of the late Curt Weisenstein and pick up trash when I see it.

My wife and I go places together whenever we want. Even to a movie in the middle of the afternoon if it strikes us. We’re wild and crazy that way.

So why come back, even for once a week, you might wonder?

How about, my pilfered office supplies ran out way before I expected?

Or, having a fixed income doesn’t mean your income is fixed in the sense of being all right now, like I thought? It means your income is limited.

Or, being such a ham, I missed the acclaim and the genuine connection with people who told me their stories and listened to mine?

Actually, it is a little of all of that, except the office supplies thing. I’m still in good shape there.

I don’t miss having to get up every day and go to work. But oddly enough I do miss the deadline. The sense of having to get something done at a certain time turns out to be essential to me.

Without it, I wouldn’t write at all.

A friend once asked me why I didn’t write more on Facebook. My smart -alec reply was that I got paid when I wrote. Wise guy or not, there was a nugget of truth in there.

But I also discovered that I missed sharing these things with the reading audience more than I thought I would. Writing actually can be fulfilling.

There was an outpouring of love when I retired, so much so that it caught me by surprise. (By the way, for those of you who bought me lunch on my retirement, I’m not giving it back.)

Many predicted I would be back. You’re too young to retire, I was told.

I had kind of figured I would write more after I took some time off. That ended up being more time than I expected, thanks to pension and government regulations of some kind.

But now, once a week, I will fire up the computer and try to entertain you. Seeing as I once wrote six columns a week in my prime, it would seem like one a week will be easy. We will see.

On the 20th anniversary of writing my column a few years ago, a friend noted my life history on an outsized poster he had made up of one of my columns. It hangs on my living room wall.

“55 years of musings, 20 years of forcing them on the public,” it says.

Here’s to another 20 years.

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