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  • Philip Bryer

Retirement - A New Year Appeal

Every day, thousands of careworn, balding, middle-aged men who are slightly bitter at the way the cards have fallen for them career-wise are having their hopes dashed to the ground as a result of the problems caused by financial meltdown, an increasingly aged population, and over-spending and wasteful governments. Yes, that’s right, they keep bumping up the retirement age, and for a generation of us that’s like being flogged around Aintree Racecourse year-after-year to the point of death by exhaustion only to find out on the home straight that they’ve extended the race by another lap. Again.


Please help in any way you can. Five pounds buys a beer and a packet of salted peanuts for these innocent victims of society to take solace in on the way home. Ten pounds means they can forget their woes for a bit by having a browse on iTunes. A hundred thousand pounds means you’ll most likely never hear from them again. Please send whatever you can afford, or you might consider buying one of their books. If they’ve written any that are available on Amazon or your favoured online retailer. Might be worth a look, you won’t regret it. Please help.

Seriously, I have no plans to retire when the time comes because, well, partly I believe staying active is the best recipe for a longer, healthier life, but mainly because I won’t be able to afford to. However, should I stumble across a big pot of cash or benefit from some unexpected book sale royalties for a spike in the sales of, say, None of Your Business or the Paper Trail edition of Why The Long Face, or the latest one, Repeat Offender, I’d be beetling off to balmier parts for a few months and learning to play a musical instrument, speak a foreign language, eat and drink well and be a better swimmer. To people who say they’d be bored without work, I say you lack imagination.

What has made the retirement issue worse in recent weeks have been those finger-wagging anti-booze ads and, if you please, bollockings from the timeserving box-tickers at the local council. All poking their beaks in to warn me that my internal organs have been destroyed by having a glass of wine with dinner – you know, like they told us to when all things Mediterranean were the way to go for a healthy life and a long-laze-about retirement. Little did we know then that our Mediterranean friends were taking the long-laze-about retirement option shortly after leaving school and, apparently, as has the practice of scooping back the grape juice by the bucket-load, this theory has been rather busted. ‘Don’t let drink sneak up on you,’ one ad says, to which my regular reply is, "Whyever not?" When the age at which I might cash in my chips is being upped it seems on a weekly basis by a meddling bureaucracy, I’ve got sod all else to look forward to.

A friend of mine, Martin, was enjoying a comfortable retirement on the coast. One evening his wife piped up from behind the local paper:

‘Here’s a job for you.’

‘Hang on,’ he spluttered, ‘I thought I’d retired.’

‘Says hours to suit,’ she said, ‘right up your street too.'

There’s a thought. After a lifetime of being mostly outside of the marital nest during working hours, well, maybe that’s the way your partner prefers it.

Please help.

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