Age and Wisdom

Meeting Ronnie Crouch for the first time at what was to become “my local” shortly after moving into the area was an experience. He was a sprightly,  slightly elderly gentleman, with a glow and smile about him which draws the attention of those still wading through the chaos of their own making, otherwise known as middle age. Just the kind of bloke I like to get to know, so I said to him as I stood at the bar waiting to order my drink, “Well the sun seems to be shining then” and he smiled at me and raised his glass in salute.

We started chatting on this and that and nothing, as people do, and then, prompted by curiosity, and moved somehow by his unscarred optimism I asked, “What keeps you young?”. He replied, “Since I could stand on my own two feet I’ve only been interested in four things, Booze, food and sex and shelter,”

” Not too bothered,  with the ancient Egyptians or consequences of global warming then” I said. “Couldn’t care less.” he replied. I’m old enough to know that anyone who wants to run a country these days is a bit gone in the head, so after a century or ten of mankind getting it as wrong as he can. I’m  sticking to simple pleasures while they are available.”  He paused briefly and then added. ” Its a bit like giving a gun to a five year old, letting mankind manage his own affairs”

“Bloody hell” I said, “We’re going a bit deep aren’t we,” and he smiled. “When we were primitive enough to be frightened of something other than ourselves there was some hope, but now we think we know it all and can do what we like so sure enough, we are gradually messing up anything we can see, and most things we can’t” I looked at him anew then, because I could see that the “Booze, Food, Sex and Shelter” thing was more a protest statement than a philosophy I asked him , “What’s the strangest thing you’ve  done?”

“I climbed up to Machu Picchu last year” he said, “And I can tell you I was out of breath when I got there.”  I was surprised and impressed because the guy was clearly already in his seventies, and he continued . “I sat down and took  out a Big Mac and a Coke, to toast that ancient civilisation, with the cuisine of the modern age.” He  looked at me as if he was telling me something, but I’ve no idea what it was

It was time for me to go, so before left I asked him what his tip of the day was, and quick as a flash he said, “There’s no such thing as fresh wisdom.” That’s Ronnie for you, every glib aside had an aftertaste , and every casual observation was drenched in his experience . He was the most complicated man of simple tastes I ever met.

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, community, creative writing, faith, Fiction, humour, Life, old age, Peter Wells, Uncategorized, values, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Age and Wisdom

  1. mikesteeden says:

    Plainly Ronnie was ‘one of your own’ as they say in these parts.


  2. eric keys says:

    “He was the most complicated man of simple tastes I ever met.” – Sounds like a good role model!


  3. Salt of the earth, that Ronnie!


  4. You always say so much with so little. It’s a joy.


  5. I love it when I find these kind of folk – they give me such a storehouse of thought for quiet moments of my own.


  6. genusrosa says:

    As usual you have crafted a very thought provoking post. I was particularly caught by Ronnie’s parting words:“There’s no such thing as fresh wisdom.”

    The coincidence here for me is that I was just pondering this idea while doing some research for a post this morning…just the usual things like ancient Egyptian history, global warming, a recipe for homemade mustard and stats on whether or not people who eat McDonald’s cheesy big macs will ever make it to the top of Macchu Picchu…with a little bit of Joseph Butler thrown in. He was an eighteenth century English bishop, apologist (etc.) who challenged Locke, Hobbs, and other great minds of his day, but is actually more famous for having said ‘Everything is what it is’. He scarcely could have known he was starting a trend that would become resurrected as the darling phrase (albeit slightly changed and much reviled) of athletes and coaches in the 21st century.

    Ronnie was right; or to put it another way, there’s ‘nothing new under the sun’. Anyway, thanks for a wonderful post and for giving us such a fascinating fellow.


  7. So I wonder if you, afterwards, in your trips to that bar, if you sought him out or avoided him? Then, I’ll have learned about you.


  8. I have to say I got totally immersed in this – like falling into a comfortable settee with a broken spring. Great writing, Peter!


  9. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a Machu Pichu MacDonald’s now. Don’t suppose Ronnie would be either.


  10. Ina says:

    🙂 Lovely story, lovely encounter!


  11. desertrose7 says:

    I was wondering to myself if he was real or not. 🙂


  12. Scarlet says:

    Crikey, I’d settle for just the food and shelter… booze and sex needs the application of ambition.


  13. Al says:

    This post is sheer psychological brilliance, ducks, and the phrase “the chaos of their own making, otherwise known as middle age” renders useless every excuse I ever had about how my life turned out.


  14. gotham girl says:

    I think I may have met this guy on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu! But he pulled out oreo cookies instead of a Big Mac and coke.


  15. Quite a fellow, this Ronnie. Seems a bit like a Buddhist gone haywire! 😉


  16. Love this, Pete – killer line ‘every glib aside had an aftertaste , and every casual observation was drenched in his experience’!


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