At 70yo with the Power of Invisibility

Well I am blessed to be able to sit and write this little ditty as a few of my mates have not been so lucky and left the stage.

Over my life I have not stayed inside any bubble for any great length of time in my work life therefor my social experiences have been as expansive yet as my son grew up my “street wise” credentials have expanded even further. That’s not a reflection on him its a reflection on our parental interest never failed him and like all kids he had to make his own way and I think we gave him that freedom. He was not in our bubble but knew where home was to clarify the point.

The reason I started on this is I am so thankful that I was introduced to what the younger set were thinking, and being a baby boomer we thought we knew the ropes and I /we discovered their were different ropes. Times change and we the old farts have to adjust.

Yes ADJUST, learn and let go and learn again.

Many of my age played the too old or don’t want to card and expected the world to feel sorry or adjust to them, be it business practices, technology, travel even basic shopping they played the victim card not realising it was their choice in the majority of cases so as time progressed that victim card turned into well get onboard and stop the poor me shit.

Personally I’m a self taught bloke, very fortunate to be involved in the biggest technology shift in the world at the leading edge. Thanks to PMG, Telecom Australia , Telstra i was involved in watching learning and partaking in changing the nations communication systems from open wire to fibre.

That knowledge sits with me today as vivid as it was when it happened as it was just exciting to be part and to grasp the knowledge so you could progress to the next level, be it physically and professionally.

I watched my initial trade Boilermaking progress in equipment, techniques but the 4 pound hammer is still a basic requirement. I left for my good and my family’s future taking a massive wage cut to gain security. The punt worked in so many ways I no regrets.

Then it was the Retail phase where we went into the family business, and lived out of the till. My/our decisions, and that was a necessary step we felt at the time. A great experience I don’t regret but it was a tough teacher.

Throw in cab driving, fruit and vegetable at the markets, car detailing, football coaching semi professional, leaves me I feel with reasonable credentials to in my older phase to look where we are, and where I fit.

It seems the older you get the more invisible you are to the busy or self indulged.

Self indulgement was a blessing we never claimed in my set but it was part of the elite lifestyle we never aspired to join for the fear of loosing real friends. Many tried and never has the breeding, and realised it was a inbred thing as it still is today.

Back to our secret power of invisibility we can talk at gatherings and be ignored, stand in line at the shop and people talk past you, say hello or make eye contact and people turn their head, offer advice and help from actual experience to absolute Fuckwitts and be looked at like a dog turd.

Such is life as older human who should be parked up out of sight out of mind.

No I’m not bitter I’m amazed and question myself strongly if I was that discourteous to my elders.. I question that daily. I often disagreed as I did question, but never ignored out of respect.

We old farts are guilty of our own destiny too as many especially in retirement cannot let go of their past and try to remain in roles of importance after retirement, not to the benefit of the organisation but for self importance and relativity.

All good but comes a time for the good of that organisation you have to stand aside a become a mere mortal.

An autocrats nightmare I know but that attitude does nothing for the elder reputation overall, and dare I suggest successive planning.

What a stupid idea is that… “look at me, I’m a senior citizen and there no-one to take my place”, without thinking its you job in reality to find and train people to do your job for the good of the organisation you represent.

Ego won’t allow that too many.

Yes it happens and happening in your bubble. Just look.

Well I’ve calmed down a bit, taken by blood pressure and I’m good to go. So what about the present me?

After being in positions of captain and presidents of football and golf clubs and being active in a playing only capacity for about 5 years I had to stop because of oxygen, or lack of.

Asbestos is not you friend so of late I’ve been asked if I want to help with the golf club Pennants side and I will do the job as I always have in a business like perspective. Results are a priority then comes the social aspect as it costs the club business to compete even though the players are amateur.

All of my “volunteer” roles have been based on the same princiopal which some find it hard to comprehend. That’s my business brain at work and it has cost me friends as they can’t grasp business outside the kitchen table wanna be professionals who have never moved outside their bubble, but know the power point presentations by heart.

Sister too has moved back into the workforce and I admire anyone regardless of age steps into the unknown and challenges themselves outside their bubble.

Pop that bubble and you will see life outside, but be prepared for some push back from those who have taken you for granted, or scared to move outside theirs, directly and indirectly, and be prepared to be challenged. You have no status other than your clipboard even though you may have a title bestowed.

It’s a test of your Basic skills not the ones you may have acquired in your former career.

In closing for now I was pleasantly surprised when a young person asked me if they could contact me for advice in a new role , so my superpower of invisibility is penatratable to some who actually want to converse to another human in a most unfashionable way face to face. Let’s see if that eventuates..

Bye for now, and if I’m still up i’ll be back oxygen permitting..

The Sweep Story.

On the last day of October 2020 was also the last day of a good friend and college, taken by mesothelioma.

It was not a plesent experience for the relatives and people who knew the journey but in the end it was a relief to those knowing the pain and discomfort of the patent.

A story we probably we have all heard before but is close to me and my wife.

Mick (Sweep) and I both are boilermakers, both worked the Evens Deakin shipyard, and both apprentices to that organisation and did the same work. I won’t go into the exposure to asbestos but it was extreme and we both did it without any knowledge of the consequences.

Mick got mesothelioma, I got asbestosis.

Why we were effected differently is in the hands of the medicos for explanation but it certainly makes you think how precious a day is.

But in retrospect we had a great apprenticeship. The best we felt, working and being taught by some true tradesman. No shortcuts, no inaccuracies, it was a culture where you were judged on your product you produced, be it a bracket, a stringer, or a shell plate. Each and every welding run you put down had to be as close to perfect as you can and that standard was adopted by about 98% of the lads and those who failed the mark were really did not last.

The benchmark was set by the Master.

Our Master was Slam Sullivan. No one knew his real first name. A mountain of a man with hands as big as frying pans that you were never silly enough to smart mouth.

That 2% I spoke about was weeded out and addressed often by a smack in the ear or if required a back hander to convince you to consider your attitude to the job.

Oh yes I can hear the cries of violence to the youth but it was mans trade then and you grew up or did not survive. No mummy’s boys, no crying to the big boss as you would be regarded as a wimp

Slam worked on the Story Bridge a time where accuracy was demanded and his experiences and standards were passed on and to his credit turend out tradesmen that were welcomed once knowing your shipyard training in other factories in any other facets of the boiler-making trade.

Mick stuck with the trade his whole life, I divested after about 10 years and went to PMG, Telecom, and Telstra, but did not escape the asbestos exposure as the pits and conduits.

Again though, part of our training was life experiences few experienced.

The years was a melting pot of cultures. Walking distance from Yungabah hostel the landing point of New Australians arriving and having a job almost immediately if you had experience in any part of the shipbuilding industry.

Every day was a learning experience, be it trade or life working alongside of people who were too learning about our culture and us theirs.

Yes the lingo was in todays terms racist and unacceptable but it was common language then yet those of us who really wanted to know how the rest of the world worked it was an open book, in a time in the late 60”s where everything was being challenged from culture, working conditions, life styles, music ,everything that represented authorities including governments.

Some great discussions, ideas and arguments and at time fights but looking back a great base for me that you could never experience in a class room or office job and we had it on tap.

This could be a sad story but I won’t allow it.

Although we both got some shit disease unknowingly we did have some experiences in our youth that would never pass the occupation health and safety standards today and both of us would probably be in jail if we did to each other what was did then.

Setting little traps with welders, tools ,electricity, acetylene and whatever we could invent to get a laugh or get square was all part of learning a trade and character building, and that experiences carry us through life and give us sometimes a different view of life few can accept at times.

To be honest it took years for Mick and me to realise we both worked at the yard as there was about 200 of us covering many trades so we played golf against each other misbehaved accordingly and as age does we did not recognise each other in that light until one afternoon the penny dropped when is saw Mick walk into the clubhouse dressed in his work gear and I said boilermaker, then it all fell into pace, the toolbox was opened and it we started swinging the 4 pound hammer of our youth, driving in the wedges and dogs of the past

He remains in my mind a true tradesman full stop. He stayed and practiced the game to the end and I hope he passed on his standards to his subordinates in trade but I’m pretty sure he passed them on family in another forms and they will live with them.

His legacy remains in many ways.

Thanks for the memories old mate and meet you at the lunch room for the game of 500 with the big school.

Slam No Trumps.

Old Age is Great… 

You know what. I’m stuffed.After 2 days of golf last week, a day going to Mothers 86th, a day down just vegging out now today with a little shower this morning thought the atmosphere might improve. 

It hasn’t.. Lungs are still heavy..

This asbestosis shits me off no end, but it’s not going to beat me..

Battling tiredness and breathlessness daily takes it toll but I will survive. I have jobs to do on my house and that will get done. That’s what drives me and even though some days it’s sit down and rest,no choice, I will win….

What really gets me is the mind. It wants to go and the body says piss off.. And I hate starting something and not finishing it but I have learnt listening to your body helps as the recovery level takes much longer if you don’t.

Today the lungs say air better than yesterday, the body is responding, be it slowly, the mind says lest go you pair of fuck wits and get these jobs done. 

Experience says let’s see how the morning pans out… 

Anyway mother called and she no longer has a clot, or pneumonia. 

Yep, that was the diagnosis after the party, a night in hospital and both were dismissed.. 

Some times a little knowledge causes a trauma, and worst case scenarios fester. That’s why my doctor dismissed a colenoscomy as a reaction rarely needed and trauma causing at my age. Every 5 years max. Good decision I feel…. 

Yes old age is great, bits falling off and body slowly closing down, that’s nature, so it’s here for a good time not a long time. 

That’s why my golf is so important. Good friends and comradeship, playing in a buggy on flat courses, keeps me younger, playing in company of youth keeps me younger, listening to youth and keeping abreast of their technology keeps me younger.. Staying competitive via handicap keeps me younger. 

Yes recovery time is required but it’s worth every cent… And having a wife that understands sport, played sport, and still follows more sport than I do, knows that sport has never left us from the day we met at the football club where we both were playing back in about 1964. 

Anyway after watching Australia qualify for the 2015 World Cup Rugby Final against the All Blacks we are really looking forward to getting up at midnight On Monday morning for the final.. 

I am split as I love both teams, and as I have blood in both camps apparently I’ll enjoy the spectacle…. 

TBC.  

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