Ammo Grrrll is happily MARRIED TO AN ENTHUSIAST. She writes:
We are now in our tenth year of living in Arizona. Before that we “wintered” in San Diego for two years and then Palm Springs for ten. I would notice groups of men lingering over coffee in the upscale supermarket. These were married retirees, men who had clearly been kicked out of their small winter condos by wives who probably loved them dearly but desperately needed some solitude, some “space.” (I suppose it is also possible that the men were just as happy to escape briefly from their wives, but in my experience, men can just turn up the television and pretend we aren’t even there. Hypothetically.)
A friend has a pillow in his office, a needlepointed message that says bluntly: “Retirement means half the income and twice the husband.”
I would sometimes see the coffee drinkers check their watches to see if they were allowed to go home yet. (This was a few years before cellphones when we can all be alone with our new BFF, Alexa, and amuse ourselves into solitary oblivion, even out to dinner in a group.)
My husband – the famous novelist Max Cossack – retires this Friday! Since we have both been either self-employed or working from home for decades, I will not have to adjust to his being around.
But neither will I need to fix him up with playdates with other men to golf or walk or just sit around SOMEWHERE ELSE, FOR GOD’S SAKE. Max is the most self-amusing human I have ever known, mostly due to an overabundance of enthusiasms and boundless curiosity about every dang thing in the world. Sometimes, possibly, to a fault.
He is a voracious reader who will pick up War and Peace or Moby Dick just for a little light reading. And then he will read seven books about Whale Oil, Ship Construction, or biographies of Herman Melville or Leo Tolstoy. He loves biographies and has read either biographies or autobiographies of, among many others, such unlikely subjects as Shania Twain and Keith Richards. Yes, really.
Unlike me, he also loves television. We once got a cable baseball package with which he could watch up to ten games a day. He has watched documentaries about wars, Presidents, and also everything he ever wanted to know about Bananas, and the Histories of Ice Cream, Chocolate, and Corn Flakes. He can go on about any of these subjects at some length, even in the unlikely event that there are no requests.
Recently he became enamored with Teddy Roosevelt and we took a summer trip to see various Teddy-related parks and sites in North Dakota and Montana. As is my wont, I will tell loyal readers about what diners and restaurants we found on the way, and everything I ate. That is more my speed.
While working full-time, Max attended Night Law School, graduating 5th in his class. He also composed and recorded dozens of pieces of music and wrote 4 musicals and plays, all of which were actually produced! (If you are not in or around the theater, you have no idea how unusual that is.) And in the last year or so, he researched and wrote two outstanding novels. It would not surprise me if – free at last, free at last, thank God A’mighty, he’s free at last – he produces a novel every six weeks now in retirement. Please buy them so we can buy more ammo.
Remember when Valerie Jarrett told us that Barack Hussein Obama was bored all the time because he was just so dang much smarter than the rest of us? Alas, she had confused boredom with sheer laziness and lack of imagination. It’s a common mistake.
My experience with the very smart people it has been my privilege to know is that the very smart – not at all to be confused with the merely “edumacated” — are almost NEVER bored, unless stuck in an airport with CNN shrieking hatefully at them. If they max out on one thing, the very smart will just go ahead and teach themselves another language or learn to crochet or fly a plane or design a giant model railroad or make their own ammo or make a spreadsheet inventorying all their ammo, or manage their Fantasy Baseball Teams or do Mensa-level Sudoku with math involved.
My former “yard guy,” with his 5th grade formal education, could fix anything. He had a very hard life, but was always joyful and grateful. He sang to the plants! He was lightyears smarter than almost any talking head on television prattling on about whatever talking point memo the DNC put out that morning. Hey, kids, is it “the beginning of the end” again, or are the “walls closing in”? Are we Nazis today or in the pocket of Putin? Idiots!
Perhaps it is a mercy on the part of the Lord to make the dull-witted also short on self-awareness so that they don’t get embarrassed when they say things like that there is no difference between the Berlin Wall – which, of course, kept imprisoned people IN, and the Gaza Wall, which keeps vile terrorists OUT. Or rail against “tactile” nuclear weapons. Luckily, the terminally-stupid often have extreme arrogance to compensate for minimal brains.
I admit to a certain bias here, but I also believe that most really smart people also have highly-developed senses of humor. Even if they can’t tell jokes – and most can – they “get” them. This is why almost the entire current crop of standup “comics,” whose shtick consists mostly of either filling a checked Diversity box or saying obscene things about the President and his family, are not funny. They are not funny because they do not “think” funny; most do not think at all until they get their “Orange Man Bad” marching orders. I can say categorically that any random Commenter on Power Line is funnier than the entire stable of horrible late-night talk show host comics. (Notable and clean, hilarious exceptions well worth checking out are Brian Regan, Jim Gaffigan, Demetri Martin, and Nate Bargatze.)
I think most very smart people are also joyful, happy to be alive in such an interesting world. Can you even begin to imagine how tedious it must be to be in a relationship with the wretched crop of angry, entitled, spittle-emitting, miserable boring haters that populate all of cable and network television, Hollywood, and most of Twitter? What sane man could even look at a wife dragging around a bloody beheaded likeness of another human being, let alone the President?