When you’re retired and lazy and at your wit’s end

And you’re looking for something to do

When you’re no longer useful and haven’t a friend

And nothing’s expected of you

Of course you don’t care what anyone thinks

But you’d rather die than spend time on the links

There’s no joy in Gin Rummy and no solace in drinks

Perhaps it’s time that you tried something new

Perhaps a hobby to fill up your days

Like throwing a pot on a wheel

One can get lost in the clay and the glaze

And the primordial way potters feel

After a while you’ll gain enough skill

To give some of your beauties away

But pretty soon one more pot’s overkill

And your friends say enough with the clay

Maybe you think you’ll learn the guitar

Something you’ve wanted to do

You know you’ll never be a rock star

Still it’s something you’d like to see through

You sign up for lessons, you play for your friends

You give music your best shot

You realize that it’s talent upon which music depends

And talent is not what you’ve got

Okay, let’s say for argument’s sake

That retirement’s not cut and dry

You can always read novels or learn how to bake

Or audit a class at the Y

You’re determined to do whatever it takes

To make these golden years fly

There’s no reason it has to be a headache

After all it all ends when you die

So order the good wine, order the steak

And kiss your loved ones goodbye

Harris Tobias


Makes me think that ...

Retirement is an event, a time of life indeed, that many working people look forward to. It is often idealised as a period in which there are expanses of time to do all those many things that working has inhibited. Not everyone sees it that way and it doesn't always work out that way.

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In the North the Negro had better educational facilities. 1940–41. MoMA