These days, thankfully, nobody expects much from an old coot. No need to be movie star handsome or a rock star, although come to think about it there are some pretty old rock stars out there still drawing audiences no matter how badly they aged. By the time you get to your 60’s the hot jock and the pimply nerd look about the same- old and wrinkled. Nobody looks all lthat great when they are old. If you are still breathing and can walk up a stair or two, you pass muster. In fact, ugly guys have an advantage because when you start at the bottom there is nowhere to go but up. Nobody ever says we didn’t age well. But I’m getting off track.
Growing up, my mother always used to tell me that beauty was in the eye of the beholder. Like most kids I didn’t pay much attention to anything my parents had to say. Looking back, maybe I should have. It might have given me some comfort about never finding a girl willing to go out with me. I thought I looked pretty good but how could I begin to understand the mind of a teenage girl? She also told me that beauty was only skin deep. People would recognize my inner beauty even if I wasn’t Rock Hudson. Somehow that didn’t work out so well for me either. I’m still waiting for someone to recognize my inner beauty. Oh well.
What else is personal?
Thinking about how beauty is relative and personal got me thinking how many of life’s pleasures are personal judgment and preference too. Not everybody likes spicy food and what some people think is delicious causes others to puke. The Cantankerous Old Coots have staked a claim on a particular world view that we call cantankerosity. It isn’t rocket science and book learning. In fact, it comes naturally when you deal year after year with organizations set up by, for and administered by mindless sheep. Most of us get trapped in that sheepish mindset early in life at our mother’s knees or in the classroom but there are a few non-conformists who don’t get the message. Some never succumbed. Others sensed over time that the only reason for those rules was to ensure that nobody ever got off the reservation and made trouble for the top dogs. Something made those people wonder what was behind the curtain; how the grass on the other side of the fence tasted and why it was purple instead of green.
So here we are.
Here are the few, the independent and the disrespectful- the Cantankerous Old Coots. The sheep in their safe pens eye us warily because they fear the unknown that we embrace. We see the things they have learned to ignore. We know that the Emperor is naked (and that he is butt-ugly to boot). We march to our own drummer and not the well-organized marching band. They fear that if they listen to us, they might lose their comfortable easy life altogether. They might actually have to think for themselves and take responsibility for their miserable lives. Not my problem.
So back to the Cantankerous Old Coots
Of course this draws the cantankerous,whether they are old or young, successful or struggling, handsome or ugly, together. It explains how young Justin, the stay at home Dad, kettlebell virtuoso and internet entrepreneur built his team at COC to include Bob, the rising, internet media mogul, political pundit and Appalachian yurt guru and myself, the suave, sophisticated and over-educated LA exile stuck in the hick-filled Sierra foothills far from the ocean and civilization. There isn’t any other excuse, I can find.
But back to the point!
Still, talking about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, today I’m discovering that Cantankerosity is a personal judgment too. Maybe we all share the same special qualities that make us cantankerous. Maybe the readers of this blog can identify those special qualities and conclude that yes, Justin, Bob and Ralph are birds of a feather because we think alike. If you see it, then you need to share that insight down below. Maybe we share some inner force but I’m not so sure. I’ve been working with these guys for nearly a year now and I’ve had time to assess their strengths and monitor their weaknesses. I have come to my own conclusion about the Coot’s team and being a qualified Cantankerous Old Coot, I’m going to share it with the world and let the chips fall where they may.
I know cantankerousity when I see it. I live and breath cantankerousity. Cantankeroisytis my life. So when I say something is cantankerous, you can believe it. So here is my judgment. I’m cantankerous. Bob and Justin are just plain nuts!