My passion for playing basketball waned greatly when I was compelled by age and thoughts of self-preservation to play “poolroom rules”: One foot on the floor at all times.
That’s one of my favorite jokes. Regrettably, most people don’t find the observation as witty or insightful as I do.
The other day, I related my roundball truism to the computer-whiz who works in the cubicle next to mine. I could tell by the long seconds of silence before his response floated over the cube-wall between us that he didn’t quite get the joke. The full sense of it.
He will, though.
From what I can deduce, my web-genius friend is still in a full-blown romance with basketball. He is a young, tall and lean basketball machine – balky knee and all. But, someday, he will get it. Basketball, I discovered, isn’t much fun when the boing is gone from your legs, and you can’t sail through the air to grab a rebound, block a shot or shoot a lay-up at the rim.
Especially when you are short. I am short and, darn it, getting shorter.
You may not believe this, yet — depending upon which stage of your life-cycle you are in — but after a while age will weigh evermore heavily on your shoulders. And around your middle. We compress, grow thick. The old saying is true: Time and gravity always win.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about time and age and abilities. NPPD offered an early retirement package, and I accepted.
There comes a time when skills erode, the mettle of one’s soul tarnishes, and a point of view doesn’t seem so, um, pointed.
I have spent a lot of hours over the past quarter century sitting on my rear trying to come up with the exactly right words in the perfect order to express the significance of public power and its contribution — past and future — to ensuring Nebraska’s quality of life.
I have traveled tens-of-thousands of miles across Nebraska spreading the public power doctrine at strangely named meetings called Rotary and Kiwanis and Sertoma.
And now seems as good a time as any to stand down and let others continue the good fight. Because it is good and needs to be fought.
I am humbled and feel blessed to have worked for Nebraska Public Power District in service to the people of Nebraska. NPPD has fabulous resources. The people I have worked with are talented, smart, skillful and dedicated to doing the right thing.
I don’t think you find that in every job or every workplace.
NPPD allowed me to put my family first, in hard times and in good. For that, I will be thankful as long as I live. I have had the privilege to, once in a while, share a thought or two (more than most readers likely want or need) in this Behind Your Outlet blog. It’s been fun.
I hope my efforts on behalf of the District’s mission have been worthwhile. They have certainly been sincere and my intentions good. I have learned: We do what we can as best we can.
Now, I’m going to try something a little different.
I explained to the older of my two sons that retirement can be compared to running for an 80-yard touchdown. (I use way too many sport metaphors, don’t I? But, it’s probably too late to change.)
Curtis can relate, having made his dad proud many times with long dashes to pay-dirt. “It’s when you’re getting near the end,” I tell him. “And guys are diving for your legs and you’re not sure if you can make it all the way, or not. You think, ‘Should I keep running straight and rely on my speed, which, by the way, is quickly running out? Or should I make a cut and zig-zag to the goal?’”
I’m going to zag. Maybe this old write-man can’t jump worth a lick, anymore, but I’m betting I might still have some zag.
Well, that’s about it. I hope to see you around, somewhere, sometime. Until then, I think I’ll go practice my end zone dance. Nothing outlandish. Just dance.