One More Thing to Look Forward To

Heather Johansen

Summertime television typically isn’t too enticing. Remakes of old gameshows, the occasional heartfelt weight loss reality show, and reruns of blasé sitcoms litter the TV landscape. However, there is one bright little spot in all the blandness: Gordon Ramsay: 24 Hours to Hell and Back (I know, over the top, but I digress)
On his latest show Gordon follows basically the same pattern; he walks into a restaurant, declares it hideous and spends the rest of the show heroically rescuing it from itself. This time he only has 24 hours, which everyone is constantly reminded of by an obnoxious digital clock that counts down to the second.
Once he reveals himself to the restaurant owner, countertops are cleaned, mice are dumped out of toasters (yes, that really happened), staff are finally trained properly, and the entire place gets a facelift that would make even the creators of Extreme Home Makeover gasp in awe and wonder.
And I love every minute of it.
Probably one of the main reason I dig it, is because Gordon seems to have a deep affection for seniors, especially ladies, sweet grandmas if you will. It is almost guaranteed if a grandma is somewhere in the recesses of the restaurant making one of her specialties, Gordon will seek her out, gobble it up, and declare it brilliant! He seems to have an underlying sense of respect for their wisdom and opinions that I totally adore.
If someone over the age of 70 slacks off a bit in their waitressing prowess, he gently nudges them back to work with a wink and a smile. You get a smug twentysomething slacking off and you’ll witness him have a complete rage-fest at their laziness and lack of ambition! Most are not safe from his onslaught of verbal slaps and no-holds-barred criticism. Unless you were born in the days when a new car was under $1500 and you could grab a burger for 30 cents, then you get a free pass.
I admit, I too will let seniors get away with more than others.
So, Mable says I look heavier than the last time she saw me. I chuckle at her overt honesty…way to tell it like it is, Mable! Joe saunters in and sings me a rousing rendition of “Sweet Caroline” while I am focusing on a project in my office. I listen with enthusiasm and applaud his melodic intervention! Of course, you place a 25-year-old in any of these scenarios and I would find them annoying and at times rude. (I admit it, I am unabashedly biased)
Not that this bias doesn’t sting me sometimes. Like when I was doing social work and the woman I was helping said that some “little know it all” came out and gave her a pile of crap to read about a month ago. “She didn’t know what she was talking about!”
“Harriet, that was me,” I replied.
“Well,” she said with a scowl, “you seem a little heavier now than you were back then. That’s probably why I didn’t recognize you.”
Touche, Harriet.

I suppose I am just envious of their outright honesty and their fearlessness to say what’s on their mind. All of us still in the workforce must mind ourselves and watch what we say. We have jobs to lose and colleagues to offend. We must keep our thoughts to ourselves and really, what is the fun in that?
Suppose I shall add “no longer censoring myself” as another aspect of old age and retirement to look forward to. A day when, I too, can look someone in the eye and say, “actually your idea sounds just terrible ” and have them reply lovingly, “Oh, Heather! You are brilliant.”

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