Mister Oldman is a sweet old man and a sweet old man shall I be, when my business is done and my children don’t come and my needs are as simple as these. Something new is among us now, ladies and gentlemen, the aged. We don’t know what to do with them, brittle and residual, though the foundations they chair can be nimble. Time was, they were taken off by invaders, mauled by big cats, dispatched over the weekend by simple viruses. Now nothing kills them. They no longer throw themselves on swords or float away on rafts of ice. So, if they’re lucky in traffic and don’t kill themselves out of boredom, they survive to obsolescence like the rest of us, but the upgrades don’t take. The ergonomic opposite of a perpetual motion machine, Mister Oldman here absorbs increasingly larger investments of energy with diminishing returns. Example: to receive one answer now requires asking the same question three times. Keep signing the checks, Mister Oldman. Yes, friends, remedies are slow to evolve. New uses for the aged will emerge, but for now it’s a challenge. They easily break and replacement parts are prohibitive. Sadly, too, they don’t learn, and what they know is quaintly fading. And while they process food and air, the end products are not highly prized. Sorry, there may be time for questions later. Mister Oldman has offered to mentor. He has vivid but unlikely memories of learning chess and Euclid from his beloved granny. We seek mentees not averse to Mister Oldman’s infirmities and, further, will soon publish Essence of Oldman in less-creaky digital formats. His will be the go-to guide for those wishing to make fixed-size fonts of movable type from lead ingots. Also, strategies for cribbage. Thank you, I have a date.

Copyright © February 17, 2007 David Hodges

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