Embracing my inner curmudgeon

old_man_on_the_bench copyYou GUYS I’m on the Fun Committee!

Hang on. I just wiped out the stores in my enthusiasm department. I need to sit down.

I don’t mean to poke too much fun at the Fun Committee. Being assigned to a task that involves pulling people together for no other reason than to enjoy each other’s company is something I really enjoy.

I think I’ve mentioned being a member of Rotary, which I love because of its emphasis on service and its global reach. After only a few years in the organization, and a healthy dose of experience with our youth exchange program, I can now say there are more than a few countries in the world where we could bum space on a couch the next time we travel.

And I fully intend to make use of that generosity.

I’m well aware of the organization’s reputation for exclusivity to wealthy, old, white guys. It’s not totally undeserved. Once, I was at a Rotary meeting in Buenos Aires where a guy showed me a carving he had on his desk of two clasped hands.

“That’s a symbol of our club,” he said. “Because we’re inclusive. We embrace everyone. We’re not like the United States where there’s so much tension between the races.”

Apparently, everyone in South America thinks the whole USA is Detroit circa 1967.

Also, apparently, this guy didn’t understand irony, considering his was a group that didn’t have any women, nor anyone outside of his particular socioeconomic class, race or age.

So, yeah, sometimes reputations exist for a reason. Rotary’s included.

But, locally, we have a pretty good cross section of the community, including a fair number of women, a few of whom were selected to organize some activities for our club that weren’t focused on service or education, but on fun and fellowship.

Problem is, I don’t always have the same idea of fun as other people.

From my perspective, the more organization something requires, the more structure, the more that can go wrong with anything in particular, the less fun.

Anything that involves a board game or an icebreaker or convoluted rules I have to keep track of? Sorry.

Anything in blazing heat or freezing cold? Nope. Too much activity? Too little activity? Yuk.

So as our Fun Committee started brainstorming ideas for fun, and the more into the weeds we got, the more I found myself slouching in my chair.

How about we get a new songbook for the group? Sing something more contemporary once in a while?

What? I just got to where I could convincingly mouth the words to “R-O-T-A-R-Y, that spells Ro-Ta-Ry” in time with the music. Now I’m going to have to follow along with a new repertoire? Meh.

How about we all play musical chairs at meetings? We’ll each get to sit by a different person every time? How about having a list of questions to ask people so we get to learn more about them?

What? I’m going to have to GET UP and MOVE to another table? Spare me.

“Oh, man,” one woman said, “My father-in-law is eighty years old, and if you mess with the format of the meetings in his club, he’ll get up and leave.”

I’m kind of with her father-in-law.

In fact, I’ve never been really all that fun.

When my friends threw me a wedding shower, I insisted on no games. Don’t dress me in a toilet paper wedding gown, make me guess what celebrity you are, or pin the tails on the groomsmen. I will get up and leave.

The same went for throwing me a baby shower. Don’t make me play any dang games. Unless you want a scene. Unless you want me to get up and leave.

I don’t do well on pep squads, or anything that requires earnest enthusiasm, that I put aside a fairly well developed sense of sarcasm for any length of time. Don’t put me in charge of motivating a group or rallying the troops. I don’t want to string up crepe paper or make posters. I’m not going to wear any sports team’s rub-on tattoo on my face.

Right at that moment, sitting there biting my tongue at our Fun Committee meeting it hit me: maybe I shouldn’t be on the Fun Committee.

Because I’m actually an 80 year-old man.

I’m coming face to face with my inner curmudgeon. My time on this earth is limited. I don’t want to spend it asking questions to determine whether I’m the lead singer of an 80s hair band, or tipping my chair over to see if there’s a colored sticker on the bottom. Frick. I could go at any time people.

But as we kept talking through all our ideas, and realizing we needed fun stuff that was fun for a really broad range of people, 80 year-old men included, I realized there’s probably a place for me on the Fun Committee.

I’m the one who tempers all the convoluted ideas with a healthy dose of “I’m not going to do that it if it requires me moving or thinking or some such baloney.”

So, here we were planning all kind of funny funness for our club. I can promise it’s not going to involve moving or games or any shuffling of chairs. There’ll probably be food that’s not complicated to eat, and music that’s somewhere off in the distance, so it’s not too loud. There will be adult beverages. There will be places to sit.

Because that’s my idea of fun.

Followed by a long nap.


A vote for my blog is a vote for 80 year-old men everywhere. Thank you!


photo by: Born.to.be.mild


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  1. I would serve the exact same role on the fun committee that you describe. However, I would probably avoid joining a fun committee at all costs. I am on the Board at my son\’s school and I always try to find a conflict for the first meeting of the year so that I can skip the \”getting to know you\” exercises.

  2. You\’re fun! You\’re fun on a cracker! You\’re fun on a stick! You\’re….well, you\’re your own kind of fun, and your fun while maybe not lighting up Instagram, is still fun.

    Because sitting with someone nice, and chatting, while drinking an adult beverage, and being included, is absolutely wonderful.

    Granted, I was a nurse for mostly elderly people for over a decade. My idea of fun may be slightly tempered by too much time spent with an over 80 crowd, and an overwhelming desire for Netflix and hot tea.

    No, I\’m sticking with you\’re fun. Now you go kick that committees ass. Or, you know, bring it some cookies and don\’t think too hard. You do you.

  3. I agree with Anne! This post was so enjoyable, that proves you are definitely fun!
    I wish all gatherings had someone on their committees who wouldn\’t allow icebreaker games. Unfortunately, an extrovert rated a 10 on the extrovert scale doesn\’t understand what they find fun may not be fun for the rest of us.

    1. Thanks, Deborah! I\’m actually usually an extrovert myself … somewhere along the line, I must have lost the icebreaker game bug, though.