LEADERS - not followers

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Posted to Writers Island


So, there’s this really old guy
With white hair and everything
Sitting in the pub tonight

Must be eighty at a guess
You’re thinking but you won’t ask
That’s because you’re too polite

Or too scared by the warning
The old guy continues with
Even as you’re deciding
Maybe just seventy eight

Because the oldest person
That you ever knew before
Was seventy eight years old
And looked very similar

…With white hair and everything

Though maybe a bit fatter
Than this old guy in the pub
But other than that, you think
Vey similar looking

…Although that guy could have been
An inch, two inches shorter

…Or would that have been taller?

Doesn’t really matter now
The one you knew dropped down dead
About seven years ago

But was very similar
…White hair… and… everything

…Or was he seventy six?

Whatever; the only thing
You’re able to remember
This other old guy saying
Just before you take your seat

Is, I quote; “And I should know
I’m seventy two years old
At least, that is, I will be
If I see this whole year out”

Which is so disappointing
Because you so wanted him
To be, say, seventy six

Even better still, eighty
As you initially thought
Then he’d definitely be
The oldest old guy you’d known

And you always get a buzz
When a new and personal
Record is set… don’t you just?


  1. A timely piece--Walter Breuning, the world's oldest man died on the 14th of this month. He lived in my town, Great Falls, Montana. He was 114 years old (and nope, I didn't meet him).

    This is great stream of consciousness writing, Stan. It works.

  2. Thanks Brenda; It's a good exercise - sometimes it comes together, sometimes it falls apart.

  3. Hi Stan, I'm racking my brains as to who this might be, I was in your pub last night and there were at least two guys over eighty in there, one was eating a scone and another one was trying to find a sixpence.

  4. Great piece about ageing and age perception!

  5. Stan, I love the stream of consciousness in this poem; it's just how we think.

    Brenda, I just read that the world's oldest man (after yours) died in Japan today. Also 114. But he was only the sixth pldest person.

  6. Very smooth. I felt like I was just sliding around inside your head.

    People that old, you wanna get their actual age, ya gotta cut off a leg or something & count the rings.

  7. Thanks to:
    Andy; Two! OVER 80! Making notes... Tues nite... after hrs...
    Iself; Of courser we'll never be THAT old!
    I'mnotaverse; It came across the way I intended it to then.

  8. Thanks Ron: Accuracy is important!

  9. I like this very much indeed. I read it as a meditation. It worked for me.

  10. Thanks Dave; Happy to know that.

  11. I love the way your mind meandered through this Stan! (And Ron, you're a hoot!)

  12. Thanks Gloria; My mind often meanders...

  13. Stan, I really enjoyed reading this. I liked the thought process, the back and forth of now and then, and the contrast between the thoughts of age of the speaker and the man being observed.

  14. Thanks Mr.Walker; the person referred to as 'you' is a young pub-goer - possibly underage - who's a little immature and is at about his drinks limit.

  15. And here's me still hoping you're as old as you feel - or is that the one that's feeling you?! Hehehe!

  16. Thanks Jinksy; My Gran used to say she was 'as old as her tongue and a little bit older than her teeth'...

  17. Stan, this does read like a meditation, as Dave said. I love stream of consciousness writing and this doesn't disappoint, but is there really much difference between 78 and 80? :)


  18. Thanks Pamela;... I'll let you know...

  19. LOVED this. Somehow as I was reading it, I was hearing it with a slur...

  20. I was there—listening to you think— and I lved the line about records.

  21. Thanks to:
    Whenwordsescape; The slur is spot on!
    Linda; What's a night in the pub without that sense of achievement?