Views vary on what the future holds

On Dec. 2, the first Tuesday of the month, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner. The group trickled in slowly, just that it happened that way; there was no particular reason for the trickle.

This was the first gathering after Thanksgiving and the usual questions were asked — and by many: “How was your Thanksgiving?” and, “Do anything special?”

The answers varied from many miles “traveled to be with friends and relatives,” or many “friends and relatives traveled to our place,” or “not much, just a few people came over,” or “nothing special, we had soup and a sandwich; we make it up at Christmas time.”

Then there are always the bah-humbugs. All these holidays are made-up days by the toy manufacturers, the card makers, the costume makers, the flag and bunting makers (an OF interjected: Did you ever notice how many of the American Flags waved on the Fourth of July are made in China?), and whoever else can dupe the public into spending money for things they don’t want or need bandwagon. The next thing you know there will be a bandwagon holiday to celebrate all those who play musical instruments.

Into the future

A subject came up that was a little unusual because usually the OFs go back in time; this time, they wonder what it will be like in the next 50 years. Most of the OFs won’t be around, but the OFs’ grandkids will.

One OF thought that, the way things are going now, in 50 years there won’t be a United States of America as we know it. It is just like someone has let the dogs out, and the barbarians are running amuck, similar to what happened to Rome. This OF feels we are headed for the Dark Ages again.

Yet another OF felt that he would like to be around 50 more years, and see people on Mars, and traveling to other universes. Cancer cured. The common cold beat. No more Third World countries; all countries would be on the same page. This OF thinks the best is yet to come.

Talk about 180 degrees apart. Some OFs conjectured none of us would be around to find out who was right anyway.

Hairy subject

The subject now goes from the sublime to a much lower level, the human hair. An OF wondered why we have hair where we don’t want it and no hair where we need it.

“Yeah,” one OF said, “why does one hair on my eyebrows grow out two to three inches and it has to be cut with a pair of bolt cutters, and all the others grow shaggy and relatively the same length? Where does that one hair get the protein to grow that long?”

“Yes,” another OF chimed in, “I have a mole on my back and it has five or six black hairs growing out of it; how come? They are so tough, those hairs poke through my shirt like pieces of wire.”

One more question an OG asked was, “How come I have never heard of anyone going bald, or even losing hair in their nether regions?”

“Well, who is going to admit to that?” an OF asked.

One more OF said, “People don’t go running around with that region exposed like the top of your head so, unless you have X-ray vision, no one will ever notice.”

“To me,” the original OF said, “it is still a question if hair can continually grow ‘there,’ why can’t doctors take that gene and, through genetic engineering, steer it to your head?”

“Who knows,” an OF answered. “Maybe some bald research doctor is already working on this problem.”

“If he finds the answer,” an OF added, “he will give Bill Gates and that guy from Mexico (billionaire Carlos Slim) a run for their money.”

“What are parades for anyway?”

Some of the OFs are, and were involved in parades, especially those in the military. The OFs began talking about the Shriners and Mummers and how, at many parades, they are a big hit.

The Shriners run around in those little cars, which is quite smart because they don’t have to walk the parade route and don’t have to hire a band. An added bonus to the Shriners’ way of parading is, at the end of the parade, they just hop in their little cars and ride back to where the parade formed up.

The Mummers, on the other hand, have to march the whole distance carrying those elaborate costumes on their shoulders. If it is the Fourth of July parade, they have to be exhausted at the end. 

Some of the OFs march with different fire companies, or civic organizations. An OF wondered, “What are parades for anyway? Who first thought, ‘I guess I will take my horn and walk through the street playing it?’”

One OF thought that, way back in time, it was a way of forming the Army into some kind of organized line to get them to battle.

“Not bad reasoning,” said one OF.

The other OF said, “I still don’t understand parades.”

The wooly bear knows

The OFs have been judging this winter weather, and say that little black and brown caterpillar has been right so far. Those tight black hairs at the beginning of winter indicate we are just in the middle of the beginning. (Whatever that means, but we understood.)

Those attending the breakfast at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg and some maintaining that it is winter, and not any different than winters in the past, were:  Jim Heiser, Chuck Aleseio, Glenn Patterson, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Karl Remmers, Dave Williams, Miner Stevens, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Lou Schenck, Mike Willsey, Gerry Willsey, Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gil Zabel, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and me.