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March 21, 2013

'Geezering: an act of doing stuff with another old guy

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Cooperstown Crier

---- — It is a bright sunny day. I should be out back in our woodlot geezering with my neighbor John.

An acquaintance some time ago mistook me for someone else, but then suggested that us guys with beards look alike, so no wonder even a close friend gets it wrong once in a while. I suspect that someone observing us from a distance might not be able to distinguish one old geezer from another. Having gotten this far in life, and still finding myself quite capable of putting in long afternoons working up firewood, misidentifications of that sort bother me little. In fact, it fits the bill just fine, since I am happiest embedded in the woodwork anyway. We have put in quite a few hours hauling logs, cutting them into drums, splitting them up and finding creative ways to store and stack it all.

I recently had a woodshed built. My aim all along had been to do it myself, but as the wood piled up and my procrastination demons persisted in their inimitable way, I farmed the job out. It got done in about a day and a half. I started crabbing about not having a proper shed several years ago. Suffice it to say, the in-house power broker, the wife, made it clear the time had come to either put up or shut up. I am at that point in my life, edging perilously close to entering my eighth decade, when farming stuff out is not at all as threatening to my manhood as it used to be. Although, being thought of as manly has never much appealed to me anyway. Most guy stuff strikes me as either childish, silly or a perverse combination of both. I prefer getting through time my own way.

Geezering with a neighbor is about as close as I will ever come to male bonding! We are at that time in our lives when we feel quite comfy dishing out homespun wisdom. Geezering is a private, very sacred activity. Consequently, spilling the beans is not appropriate. However, any geezer worth his salt should be able to imagine an infinite variety of topic worthy of geezer scorn or humor.

As an old retired English pedagogue I have been known to grumble and waste good spittle when ranting about inane perversions of language. I now find myself guilty of that horrid habit of twisting nouns into verbs by settling on geezering as a way of describing two old retired guys pairing up a few afternoons a week to split and stack firewood, replete with periodic respites often characterized by hefty venting and belly busting laughter. Of course, the laughter is never at our expense. An observer sitting quietly to the side might think all we ever do is take breaks, laugh, lean on our splitting mauls or just stand there jawing about what to do next and how to go about it. The very serious discussion of creative uses of discarded pallets would have been particularly fascinating. We call it pallet art.

Yesterday while we were loading up some wood into J’s van, I suggested that if some old coot were checking us out from a hiding place out back he would have doubled over with laughter after watching me head up to a tall pile of logs and start sweeping them clean of snow. The ancient distinction between appearances and reality comes to mind. If I were in his shoes I too would have been equally puzzled — and surely amused. Truth is, I knew it would warm up today and that if I did brush away as much snow as possible, come tomorrow cutting the logs into stove lengths would be a mite easier. I would rather my newly sharpened chain cut through only wood. At any rate, sweeping logs can be fun. The best part is standing back and appreciating one’s work — whatever it is. There is a special satisfaction that comes from being able, at the end of the day, to actually look at/touch what you have done.

Geezering is the act of doing stuff with another old guy. It covers whatever old guys do when they get together. We still have quite a bit of woodwork ahead. Yesterday the conversation edged into maple sugaring. It is just about that time of year. J has done a bit of that. I have not. Always wanted to. I suggested we tap some trees together. It requires equipment, though. Getting around the in-house objection to more stuff of any kind gets a bit tricky. A geezer worthy of the name should know some wily ways around all obstacles. Put two geezer’s heads together and a lava flow of wisdom should ensue. Otherwise, of what use is aging? It does have its perks.