Old Guys

“Everybody’s different,” college students would often say. Right. Because they are so smart. But for the fact that all but one person in the classroom share an identical status as “student.” Otherwise, apparently, each is meaningfully different from the other.

But there are some traits, behaviors, habits and mannerisms that are shared among certain cohorts. Whether we care to admit it or not.

Take, for instance, old guys.

Now tell the truth. When you go to a hardware store (assuming such things exist in your neighborhood any longer), and have a question, whom do you ask? The eighteen-year-old behind the cash register who’s staring at you, wondering just what the devil you’re doing standing in front of him or her?

No. So admit it.

When at a hardware store, even if it’s the Big Box variety, with a question in need of an answer or requiring advice, one always goes to the Old Guy. Because they know everything. Or at least everything associated with the stuff sold by and the reason for purchasing anything at a hardware store. It’s not a museum, after all.

Hardware stores are where one goes to get the things that will fix other things at home and that should last forever but don’t. The toilet, for example. The shelf above the clothes dryer that has taken to drooping dangerously. The lawn, which is in a perpetual state of “Broke.”

Aside from the credibility assigned to Old Guys in Hardware Stores (which, come to think of it, could become a TV series) – which is something we do to them – there’s something else about that age cohort.

Each and every one of them is packing. A penknife. Or, if you prefer, a jack-knife. Not sure what the slender distinction is between the two. Maybe I’m not old enough.

Who besides old guys have a pocket knife?

Now what’s in your pocket?

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