Despite the fact that I’m well into my geriatric years, I continue to make vital career decisions. I’ve recently decided that I don’t want to maintain a .300 batting average in major league baseball, set new scoring records as a nimble-footed guard in professional basketball or outrun the field as an outstanding wide receiver in the NFL.
I’ve also ruled out law enforcement and lawyering. Remember Paul Drake? He was Perry Mason’s investigator on TV in the late 1950s. But being an investigator doesn’t excite me. Those people have to eat too many stale ham sandwiches while waiting for the person under surveillance to do something incriminating. And then the investigators have to bring in the bad guy between the last commercial and the end of the program at the top of the hour.
While I’m fairly adept at recognizing the professions I’m not suited for, I still haven’t identified the career path that fits me perfectly. So I’m thinking, maybe I should concentrate on being an amateur, say, in the Olympics.
I’d need a competitive category that doesn’t require too much speed afoot. That would eliminate track and field. I no longer enjoy hoisting anything heavier than a TV Guide, so I suppose weightlifting is out of the question. Besides, those tight-fitting shorts can chafe something awful.
Acrobatic diving isn’t in my wheelhouse or even in my hemisphere. I could compete in a timed swimming event if they had one less than 12 feet in length.
Beach volleyball is a definite possibility except that I’m a decade or two beyond Speedo fashions.
I used to be pretty good at baseball and softball, but a fellow by the name of Arthur Ritis lives in my shoulders now, so I can only throw a ball underhanded. I’m not about to do that in public.
I enjoyed a boxing class in college. I was doing swell until I ran into a right cross. The fellow behind it was approximately 50 pounds heavier than I was. I never tied on a glove again.
I wouldn’t even consider playing golf in Olympic competition. In fact, I only considered playing it once in my life, back in 1977. That was an afternoon I’ll never get back.
Cycling is out of the question. Shortly before my wife and I moved from Phoenix into this area, I decided to ride my mountain bike one more time before selling it. I planned a grueling, round-trip cycling adventure all the way to — the mail box two streets over. By the time I returned to my own driveway, my quads and gluts were screaming. Even my gastrocnemius muscles were screeching an unhappy tune.
I could picture myself in the sailing ranks, decked out in my Ronstan CL80 Regatta Smock with fully adjustable neck seals and Helly Hanson Pull-On Spray Bibs. Other than this fantasy, I’ve always given smocks and bibs a wide berth.
I do have quite an equestrian background since I’ve ridden once every 10 years without fail. Most of these experiences were spent on top of the horse.
Recently I ran across wushu and decided this might be the ultimate sport I’d been searching for. It sounded easy. But I found out that wushu is a form of Chinese martial art that in 2013 was dropped from Olympic consideration as an event.
My absolutely final chance to participate as a proud Olympian was croquet, a sport that actually was an Olympic event, but only in 1900.
And so the career planning goes on and on and on.
Wil Williams, a resident of Chino Valley, is a retired advertising agency executive who served in the U.S. Army. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.