I don't feel old...
I just turned 56. No big whoop, as a friend of mine would say. I feel far less than that number. I know people who are already retired at this age. Some get fat, some get lazy, some have already died. I love to work, hard labor suits me. I actually think I work better and smarter since I have gotten older. Less stupidity and more thought applied to the situations. I quit smoking well over a decade ago. At one point, in my 20's, I smoked 4-5 packs a day... yes... a day. I quit when I was 34, for a couple years, picked it back up at 37 and finally stopped about 43. I've been lucky. I've painted without a respirator more than I care to admit. I had paint (lead based One-Shot) soaked hands for years. Welded in shorts and t-shirts and been to the emergency room more times than I can count, for metal shavings in my eyes. I've stitched myself up with some success. Once, not so successful and had to get treated for that. I've been (according to a doctor) minutes away from dying from staph infection. Had a car fall on me... etc...etc... etc.
After all these things, I feel pretty damn good. I am beating Type 2 diabetes, by changing the way I live. I eat better than I ever have and all that has been an attribute of that seems to make me pretty healthy. I don't feel any different, at least mentally, than I did when I was 18. Every day is about my love of the automobile. In fact, I just brought home another one Saturday. Spencer and I drove to a little town in Wisconsin, just over the Illinois state line, to pick up a 74 Type LT Camaro. This makes 3 I have in the shop at the moment and now brings the total number of Camaros I have owned, to 40. This one is going to be the donor for another LT I have. It has a solid structural shell, where this one is rustier than... Okay, it's a typical mid-70s Chevy. It's a rust bucket. I think I have mentioned before, my very first NICE car was a 74 Camaro. I got it because of a girl. I was looking at 4 wheel drive trucks, because in the late 70's they were popular. I was on the phone with her , reading listings from the local Tradin' Times and came across this Camaro , as a joke I read it and she says," I love Camaros" ... nuff said and I got it. So predictable. But, I digress.
At 56, I still love tearing these things apart. Though, I have far too many projects, I just love looking at them and planning. Just like I did when I was a kid, but know how to temper the passion and drive. That adult thing, raising a family, running a business... ugh. I want to get back into the "car thing" again. When I sold my first business, I dabbled in a number of things. Being a part owner in a body shop, worked in a resto shop for a while. Then, while waiting for a non-compete clause to be up, did some out of my home for a few years. Never got rich off it, but it kept me busy. Now, here I am again, wanting to dive in. I have far more equipment, physically and mentally, to do the work. A bigger shop and more importantly, a real desire to get my boys into it. I look forward to it and have mapped out what the plan of attack will be. It makes more sense to build these projects I have, the way I want them and sell when finished. I can enjoy them and then, if they are appealing, I'll get a buyer, or better yet a customer who wants something done. We'll see.
Here's where the age thing comes in. I think. I must have gotten crabby and more cynical with these last couple birthdays. I have no tolerance for these types who want to make you think they are master builders. They have watched every car program on the planet. By virtue of this, they have assumed they are contemporaries and equals to the television celebrities on any given channel at any given time. I had a guy stop by today, looking at the newest acquisition still on the trailer. He starts talking about Boyd Coddington, like he worked at the shop. He's throwing out names, which quickly becomes clear he only knows what he has seen on television. I asked him if he knew a couple guys I know, who actually worked at the shop. Of course, he didn't and worse yet, he thinks that since Boyd died one of the guys took over the shop. I chuckled as he talked and dismissed myself. I had to go do a real job that earns real money.
The internet and reality shows have made stars of everyone, creating this other reality these fools live in. I had to cut waaaaaay back on social media, due to these mooks. They either know everything and everybody (not), or they have been at every event when there was a major happening. A couple guys, even though they have been exposed as real assholes, know nothing and sit at their computer in a fantasy world churning out their perceived exploits. It's too much and I guess this aging thing, it helps to filter out the weirdos. To borrow a phrase from an even more crotchety old friend," They sit in their world, playing with toys and reading magazines. The only connection may be standing behind the rope watching and eventually believing they were a bigger part than they were." To their advantage the gullible and plain clueless will read their accounts using nicknames and spiffy little quips. They will believe every word they type and not question it for a moment. Some of these perpetrators of alternative facts, have been at it for a number of years and the web has made them legends, in their own minds, and jokes to a good deal of people trying to keep the faith... so to speak. Fortunately, I have been privy to meet a few people, in the course of the research on some of the cars I have had. A couple names, consistently popped up early on, which were met with eye rolls and the standard, "That guy doesn't have a clue." In the present day, I see these pitiful few and just shake my head, as they are living out a fantasy.
So, this getting old thing has it benefits, inasmuch as I am less apt to get into with them because it wears me out!
It's also taught me patience and probably saved me money. I used to find something and jump at buying it. Rarity is one reason, someone beating me to it was yet another. No matter how "rare" something is said to be, there will always be that better one that shows up. It never fails; you pay $500 for that tired old piece, only to find one that is in much better shape for $300 bucks. Always!
My favorite guilty pleasure is Marketplace on Facebook. I have found some smoking deals. But, with some of the prices these morons want, they are smoking something! If they have one thing listed, usually they have 20 more pieces of crap, just as outlandishly priced. It's like going to a swap meet, where every piece of garbage on the planet has seemed to find its way there. (Usually, the same people are at the next 5 swap meets with the same junk!) The same people, who look like they have the same clothes, poor bathing habits and must have slept during the dental hygiene films in grade school. I swear they are cooking some awful smelling cabbage. But, I never see anything to cook it in.
Here's the age thing again... I want to tell them to go home and take a bath, brush their teeth and eat something that doesn't come from a fast food restaurant. Another thing, I know how much these swap meet spaces cost, plus the gas to get there. Yet, some of them have the same pieces they had a few years ago and never sell anything! They can't be making money (they sure complain about it). Some of this stuff needs to go to the dump, or find the local scrapper and have him pick it up. Geez…
Another aspect of this aging thing... I am finally throwing things away. sort of. I have things I made in high school shop class... I should say I STILL have some of these things. This year I made a pact with myself. If I pick up something that has been sitting here for more than 10 years, knowing I will never use it... I have to throw it away. Now, there will be the train of thought, "I may need this. What if I find I need this rusty bolt for a fender on the C10? " I have to face the reality, the fact, the cold hard truth... If I use this rusty piece of crap on that project, everything I strive for is for naut. The time and effort it takes to clean, paint and whatever else I have to do to that rusty piece of crap is wasted. Here's the age thing... once more. I've thrown it away, bought brand new pieces and put them on! It looks better, took less time and hassle and I don't have to worry about it! But, I still have tens of thousands of bolts in buckets I will never use. They will take up space and the time it takes me to find the one.
I'm working on it!
Funny how all the good stuff we throw away, is worth far more than what we keep.
Here's the last aging thing. I can pick up a certain piece, in a box of junk or coffee can and remember exactly what that was for. I will remember the car, the fun we had, the trouble and all the other nuances it held. I'll set it aside, vowing to do something with it, until the time comes that it gets tossed in yet another box, can or drawer.
Just some random thoughts... from an old guy.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - By Eddie Buck