A few months ago I was involved in a super-top-secret operation, a surprise birthday party for my friend Marilyn. Her husband arranged for a few of her friends and family to meet at a restaurant where we would be waiting in a private room for her arrival. You know, jump out from behind the furniture and yell “SURPRISE,” that type of thing.
The problem is that I have lunch with Marilyn every Monday, and was terrified I was going to let the secret slip in the weeks leading up to her birthday.
The day before the party, we met for lunch and I made it through the entire meal without breathing a word of the festivities. In fact, I asked decoy questions about what she was going to be doing for her birthday, just to throw her off. (A future career with the CIA? Perhaps.) I was so relieved after that lunch and was looking forward to a really fun evening the next night.
A few hours before the party, her husband called to let me know of the final arrangements. After hanging up the phone, I sent an email to my friend Joan, who was also attending the party, giving her the last minute updates. The subject of the email was “Marilyn’s Surprise Party.”
After I heard the shwooshing sound of my email being sent I saw it. I had sent the message not to Joan but to Marilyn! I sent the Surprise Birthday Party email to the actual birthday girl being surprised. (There goes my career with the CIA.)
Which brings me to my point. Am I loosing it in retirement? And by it, I mean, you know, my mind. In the 22 years of my corporate career, I never once sent a sensitive email to the wrong person. Of course it’s unfair to count all 22 of those years, email wasn’t even invented in the first several of them, but you get my point.
Don’t even get me started on math. I have completely lost my ability to figure the tip on the bill. Again, to be fair, I was never really great with numbers in the first place, an irony not lost on me, given my profession as an accountant. But who needed to be good at math? I was a whiz at the 10-key. (Are you picturing those green eyeshades yet?)
Anyway, now that I’m retired, I’m wondering whether the brain is like a muscle that needs to be exercised to prevent atrophy. I’m also wondering where I left my car keys.
Just in case you were wondering about the surprise. I called her husband promptly after my errant email. He's not retired yet, so he still has all his faculties. He was able to run home before she saw the email. He unhooked a few computer cables, effectively “breaking the internet” for the rest of the day, and rescued the surprise from the jaws of retirement-onset ADD.