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Where Are All The Old Guys?

June 26, 2014

I didn’t know the deceased. In fact, I’d never seen him before. But, I was here to help render him an honor as a brother. An honor that I hoped someone would render me when it comes my time to go.

The departed was a Mason.

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Yes, that secretive shadowy “take over the world” organization. I’m a member of Story Lodge #4 in Provo, Ut. The members of lodge were here in suits and white gloves to perform the Masonic burial rights. Not everything we do is secret. In fact, most of it is perfectly fine to discuss and the few parts that aren’t? Well, the internet is full of stuff, some correct, most less so.

Anyway, we were here to honor our dear brother. In addition to being a Mason, he was also a veteran. The VFW honor guard also came to pay their respects and render him the final salute. The words spoken as the guard hands the folded flag to the widow always make me choke up a little

On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Marine Corps, and a grateful Nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.

The bugler was masterful as the lonely notes of taps floated over the hushed crowd. The crack of the rifles split the air like a thunderbolt.

As the service concluded the VFW soldiers came over to greet us with a question

So, where are all the old guys?

What do you mean?

Normally when the Masons come to these things it’s a bunch of old guys.

And then it hit me.

I’ve been involved with computers for 30 years. I wrote my first program in high school in 1982. I wrote it on a TI99 and recorded it on cassette tape. When I went to work for WordPerfect in 1988 the basic job skill was “Can you touch type?” If you answered that correctly, you could go to work as a support engineer. (Back To Where It All Began.)

When I went to Microsoft in 1992, it was just at the start of the “gravy” years. I made a lot of money as the stock market and especially Microsoft stock took off for the stratosphere. It paid for a lot of adoptions.

Last year I was looking for a full time job. And I realized that computers were still a young man’s game, but I was no longer one of the young ones. I’ll be 50 this year. I can still pull an all nighter, but not two in a row. I realized that somewhere between the kids and the job and the relentless trips around the sun, I got old.

And it was much harder to get a job at 50 than it had been at 30 or even 40. I came to the realization that I’m closer to the end than the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up anytime soon. But, it was strange to realize that I’m now the old guy.

In fact that’s what I realized that day in the cemetery. The VFW guys asked us about “the old guys.” I looked around and realized that I was the oldest member of the lodge. I WAS the old guy.

It kind of surprised me a little . . .Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go yell at some kids to GET OFF MY LAWN!

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children and one grandchild.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
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LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

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