02 Jan 2009

Ringing in the New Year With People Who Are At Least 55 Years Young

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I spent New Year’s Eve at my parents’ relatively new house in a retirement community in Florida, where new residents must be at least 55 years old. (We had come down for Christmas.) I noticed some huge differences between this party and those that I remember from my youthful days:

* Everybody left before 2.
* There was a lot of talk of medical ailments afflicting those both absent and present.
* Much discussion of finances (though admittedly this was a special year for that).
* The hosts (my parents) cleaned up everything before going to bed.
* The guests brought homemade food that was delicious.
* The hosts ended up with more alcohol than they started the night with.

The most unexpected treat occurred when I was talking with a guy who said he was a ditch digger when I asked him his line of work. Turns out he owns a $300k piece of equipment that lays drainage pipes for farmers in Indiana. (It was fascinating how he explained that it greatly boosted crop yields, but it would be difficult for me to translate it into blog-speak.)

Anyway, we were talking about the economy and I was offering my views in a guarded fashion, since I didn’t know the guy’s politics. But then with very little prodding from me, he basically out of nowhere announces, “It’s these low interest rates making 20-year-olds spend money they don’t have. Greenspan really f*cked us all.”

At that, for the first time in my life, I was able to raise my glass and say, “I’ll drink to that!” with no irony. I almost risked saying, “You read LewRockwell, don’t you!” but I first tested him by asking if he held gold. He said no, he just invested in his business. So I chickened out.

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