July 22, 2007
Originally published January 25, 2002
Sometimes it's difficult to accept the fact that I have been working almost half of my life at the same industrial plant. My job has changed many times over the years, but I'm still where I started out as far as where I go every day, where I park my truck and where I change from sneakers to steel-toed shoes. I am not alone, because a bunch of people pretty much like me came up through the ranks at the same time when the company was desperate for new blood. There was Leo and Mac and Rodney and Callie and me, all hard-working young Turks being trained by what we called the "old farts" at the time.
That was a long time ago. Leo quit smoking, got married and stopped perming his hair when it became thin on top. Mac got married, too, and grew gray hair. Rodney went bald. Callie became fat and I developed cancer and survived it. Now we're training a bunch of young Turks to take our jobs, once we become downsized, retire or get fired. I was talking to the bunch of them the other day and I couldn't resist it. I asked, "Do you remember the 'old farts' who trained us? Well, WE ARE THE OLD FARTS NOW!" Everybody laughed, but everybody knew that it was true.
Being an old fart isn't that bad. We all feel confident that we can keep the Turks from ousting us because we have wisdom and they don't. The Turks may be bright and learn fast, just as we did, but to gain wisdom takes time. That's the trait we always envied in the old farts who trained US. Now, we've spent the time, paid our dues and earned the hashmarks on our sleeves. When the Turks get into trouble, they look to an old fart to rescue them. The old fart has been there, done that. They haven't.
If I can just make a few more years, I will be an OLD, RETIRED FART playing golf every day and pooting around in my garden when I feel like it. Then, the Turks can have it all, until they become old farts and feel the hot breath of a new batch of Turks on their necks.
That may happen. But looking around at the batch I came up with, I just don't think they make Turks like they used to. We set a standard that's gonna be hard to beat.
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