I'm reading a book that Shane got me for my birthday that's titled "The Know-It-All". Its a true story about a guy who read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. Its funny and quite interesting. Like the lady who wrote "Julie and Julia" about her quest to cook every recipe in Julia Child's cookbook, this author wrote a best seller about his endeavor. Each of these authors blogged about their efforts, which paved the way for their bestselling books. Why am I, a reasonably normal middle aged guy bringing this up? You are getting a hint at what retirement may have in store for me!
You see, I work on the railroad. Doing so, I am always at work. (As a matter of fact, I just got called to go to Chicago a minute ago!) They are constantly calling me to go to work, not allowing me off work for any reason short of death (Even though there are eight dead guys still on the seniority roster!) and stamping out any continuity I may have in pursuing a hobby. Like many railroaders, I'm approaching retirement without any hobbies or interests that would keep me busy in a fulfilling way. I like golf. That might occupy me somewhat in the summers. I'm not rich enough to spend my winters in golf-friendly locales so other ideas have to be brought forth.
I brought these two books up because they gave me a wonderful idea! How about (when I retire) I initiate a similar project, blogging about my experiences as I go and culminate my experience by writing a best selling book and screen play. That would pile up an enormous bank account so I can afford to play golf all winter in Florida! That muffled thumping you hear is your's truly patting myself on the back for having such a great idea. Sheer genius if you ask me. There's only one little snag in my great plan. What do I do?
If my quest is too easy, people won't be interested enough to read the blog, buy the book or watch the movie. If I set my sights too high, I risk failure and that would seriously hamper any book or movie deals. So, what do I do? What can I, a humble flat guy of so-so intelligence (Normal for Indiana, the second coming of Edison for New Jersey!) and average get-up-and-go (My lawn may need mowed but not baled!) do to capture the imagination of America, no, the world!
First off, reading and cooking are out. Already done. Besides, what's there to read? The books on Wall Street business ethics or American Congressional Role Models are only 3 words long (You're kidding, right?") Books that interest me would be boring to blogdom. That's why I haven't followed Shannon's example and done book reports in my blog. "The History of Fart References in American Literature" and "Was Godzilla a Transsexual?" aren't books that would rivet America's attention in a blog. As for cooking, no way! I need to find pursuits OUTSIDE the kitchen, if you know what I'm talking about. I could cook an entire French cookbook but how many snails can a man eat, anyway?
That leaves a wide open field for my consideration. One thought I had was building a model train layout of the entire route from Chicago to Garrett. I could blog about all the exciting things I experience. The research that I would have to do before I begin would be extreme. Is the tree that blocks the signal at the Elkhart River a maple or an oak? Is the switch on the west end of the runaround at Alida on #1 or #2 track? Can I buy toy people that look as dumb as the real people of East Chicago or do I need to make them myself? In a similar vein, I've thought about building a garden train layout. That would be G-scale, which is the size of my Christmas tree train. We saw one a number of years ago when we were on vacation in Canada and it was really neat. I'd have to get an advance on my book deal though. Those G-scale trains aren't cheap!
Another idea that I've had was to make a pottery map of the U.S. by making separate clay maps of each state, which will fit into a large map of the U.S. I could dress up in the native dress of each state while I roll out the clay and cut out the map. For instance, while doing New Jersey I could be wearing a black suit and black porkpie hat with a white hatband, belt and shoes. I would glue my nose to the side of my face so it would look broken. While I did West Virginia, I could go barefoot with a t-shirt on that said "Are you my pa?" It would be pretty hard to stereotype the people of all 50 states but I've always been up to the challenge. Besides, I could sell them to schools for a mint! A triple revenue stream. I like that.
The latest fad for movie stars is writing children's books. I could do that too. How about a book about a near-sighted anteater who snorts some fire ants by mistake and the hi-jinks that result. Problem is, how do you write a book about writing a book? Being a children's book, I'd have it done in one day. Not alot of blog fodder there either.
I could do something crafty. I could make a model of the Empire State Building out of sugar cubes or the Golden Gate bridge out of Popsicle sticks and dental floss. This could be the way to go except for the fact that I have zero artistic talent. Jenny or Shannon could produce a credible copy of the Mona Lisa with the burnt end of a stick and a used Kleenex but not me. I could take a wheelbarrow full of rocks and make a, well, pile of rocks?
Seriously, one idea that I've been toying with is doing the family tree of my and Jenny's families. I could regale everyone with blog entries about all the colorful and famous people that I come across. Problem is, unlike every other family tree you've ever heard of, mine doesn't include famous, historical people. No, Napoleon isn't one of my ancestors. More likely would be his Polish chicken plucker. Besides, Alex Haley already did this. Geez, I got another great idea just a tad too late.
One idea that I've been mulling over is to try writing a volume of poetry. Regular readers of this blog are well aware of my poetic talent. All my poems rhyme, not like some of those fancy poets. Some of those bozos ought to have their poetic licenses revoked! Just because young ladies from Nantucket have prominent roles in a lot of my poetry doesn't mean the poems aren't classics. I could do a blog of poems and every year or so slap together an anthology. That ought to keep me busy in retirement. I could try my hand at painting pictures. My crap couldn't look less artistic than Picasso's. And, I'd charge a whole lot less!
Yes, I definitely need to find my retirement niche. I am open for suggestions. Just don't include anything too strenuous. After all, one definition of retire is "to go to bed" and that's exactly what I have in mind!
Forever and a day.....
7 years ago