Because It’s Pimptastic, And I’m An Admiral

A baby lawyer called me a “sarcastic, dismissive asshole” in the comments yesterday. I wasn’t offended and I didn’t deny it. It’s one of the good things about growing old, in contrast to the bad things like discovering painful body parts you never realized you had.  You live through ties getting wider, then thinner, then going away and coming back. You live through hemlines going down, then up, then sideways and asymmetrical, a horrible look.

A penthouse apartment in Chicago has come on the market that hasn’t been touched since the 1970s.  I can well remember when the style was all the rage, when kitchen appliances were either Harvest Gold or Avocado Green, or out of fashion. Today, stainless steel is the preferred look. Back then, industrial would have been horribly unfashionable.

What this means is that fashions change. When I visited Graceland, which remains today as it was when Elvis left the building, I wondered what young people saw in the green shag carpet on the ceiling. Did they laugh at its ridiculousness? Do they not realize that today’s fashions are just as ridiculous, but theirs?


Mark Herrmann made the point when he noted the reason experienced lawyers seem to always be obsessed with problems, whereas new lawyers couldn’t be bothered worrying about them.  Why do curmudgeons always assume the worst?  Because we’ve lived through bad things happening, while you haven’t.

Whatever gets you all worked up today will fade into obscurity eventually, to be replaced by something else, whether another outrage or some happiness that means nothing to you now.  The only thing you really need to be concerned about is that you don’t dedicate too much to the cause, because changes that seem so critical at the moment are going to be pimptastic some day in the future.

We could discuss Chesterton’s Fence, but you would dismiss that as some dinosaur’s notion of perpetuating the patriarchy, or oppression, or whatever dismissive contention the kids use to fight gray beard dismissiveness. This is your Avocado Green refrigerator, your shag carpet.  You just can’t see it yet, because you’re too close to it and lack the benefit of having lived through cycles of change.

You know how much you love to rely on “lived experiences”?  Yeah, old guys have them too, you know. We just have a whole lot more of them than you do, so we’re not inclined to believe that any one of them is the most important thing ever and demands that everything be changed.  Trust me, it’s a pain in the ass to get the shag carpet off the ceiling.

But it also gives us a leg up on seeing the long view.  No, not every old guy is right, any more than any one is right. No, we don’t all see things the same way, undercutting any contention that our answers are right and yours are wrong.  We’re as diverse in views any other group. We can be as wrong as any other group. But we do have the benefit of having lived through more than you. So if you think you’re really smart, really astute, then imagine how much smarter and more astute you will be with the same brilliance you now possess plus another 30 years of life under your belt.

There is a reason why old guys don’t get offended when babies call us names, aside from the fact that we’ve lived through our own children throwing their own hissy fits and know that they come out the other end eventually.  You see, we just don’t have a great deal of respect for your opinions. You haven’t earned it yet.

It’s not that you’re wrong. You may very well be right. But we thought we were right when we were young too, and look at the mess we made of things. Go take another look at the Chicago apartment. It’s horrible, but it was the height of fashion in its day. So before we take you seriously, you need to prove that you will do a better job of things than we did, and you won’t be able to do so for another 20 to 50 years. Until then, we just can’t take you too seriously.

So you want to call me names because I don’t respect your opinions?  That’s fine. I hope it makes you feel better. I have no problem with your being happy, even though your need to express it in my comments, to me, is pretty foolish. Do you think I’m going to change my ways because of it?

As for what does affect the way an old guy like me thinks, it’s what people who have earned my respect have to say.  I take them a lot more seriously, whether I agree or not. I appreciate that they’ve suffered an Avocado Green kitchen and realize that the height of hemlines means nothing.

The postman delivered a package yesterday. It came from another old guy.  In it was a beautifully framed and matted appointment from the Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts.

Yup, I am now an Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska. When I asked Judge Richard Kopf, to whom I am indebted for getting me the appointment, what that meant, he informed me that my duty was to go down with the ship.  If you want to call me a “sarcastic dismissive asshole,” from now on, it’s Admiral sarcastic dismissive asshole to you.

And I am, indeed, prepared to go down with the ship.  That means I will continue to dismiss your very important opinions when I think they’re nonsensical, no matter how much that hurts your feelings, diminishes your agency and makes you feel compelled to tell me that I am a sarcastic dismissive asshole.  I do this for you, even though you can’t appreciate it yet. You will eventually thank me for it.

You can hate what I write here all you want. It doesn’t change anything. And while I may get annoyed and exasperated with your tenacious defense of shag carpeting, your passionate feelings, your self-absorption (yes, I realize that I’m self-absorbed too, but then, you come to read my words at SJ; I don’t go to read your words anywhere), I’ve lived long enough to earn my opinions. I could be completely wrong, but I don’t think so or I wouldn’t write what I write.  And should I ultimately be proven wrong, that’s fine with me, too. I will at least have done my best to make you stop and think before you tear down the fence because you don’t understand why it exists.

Plus, I’m now an Admiral, which makes me pimptastic.

51 thoughts on “Because It’s Pimptastic, And I’m An Admiral

    1. SHG Post author

      When the big quake comes, and Nebraska is the new left coast and actually has a Great Navy, you will appreciate the Judge Kopf’s astute recommendation to the governor. And I will defend our coast with vigor.

  1. HouseMaster Sergeant General Bill

    You tell em, Scott. Suppose you went to DollyWood too while you were down there. Shag rugs? They’ll be back. Dow Jones Chow Mein, up 400 points. It goes out of fashion too, on occasion. Watch out below!

    1. SHG Post author

      When we were kids, the only options for exotic “Chinese” food were chow mein, egg foo young and shrimp in lobster sauce. It wasn’t much, but it was a wonderful change of pace. Who knew it wasn’t really Chinese food, but some variation created to suit the pedestrian American palate?

        1. Jeff Gamso

          And yes, I know that was irrelevant and usurping your space. I’m even older than you (though not an Admiral – as apparently was J. Fred Muggs and how many of the kids will know who he was?)

          1. SHG Post author

            The only problem I had with the egg drop soup is that I stuck to entrees, and you went to soups. What else? Spare ribs? Egg roll? Where does it end, old man?

    1. SHG Post author

      Elvis had some cool planes and cars, but I can’t recall if he had a boat. No matter, he was the king, which still outranks an admiral.

      1. John Neff

        On groundhog day there will be a mass exodus from Iowa but lucky for Nebraska they won’t be going there.

      2. Mort

        It must merely be an oversight, or else they don’t frequently update the list, since you do not yet appear on that list…

        1. SHG Post author

          They’re probably changing it as we type. Any moment now. Any moment…

          I’m not verified on the twitters. I have no Wikipedia page. I’m no Chuck Jones (either one). But I am an Admiral.

          1. Mort

            I actually checked to see if you had a Wikipedia page so I could add you to the list on the Nebraska Admiral page…

  2. Jim Tyre

    OMG Scott, I’ve known about the Nebraska Navy for years, I’ve always wanted to be a Nebraska Admiral. Truly, this is a great honor!

    You should have included a pic of yourself in full uniform, at the helm of the rowboat you command. But no worries about taking time away from your practice or your blogging to hone your nautical skillz. When The Big One hits, California will remain standing, all the rest of the country will sink.

    1. SHG Post author

      Ahem. I’ll have you know I was certified by the Coast Guard in Sailing and Seamanship in 1987. But the uniform from back then is a little tight around the midsection. Musta shrunk.

      1. Dragoness Eclectic

        Congratulations! I still have my parent’s copy of Chaplin’s “Piloting and Seamanship”. Read that from cover to cover, and you’ll know most of what you need to know, apart from the physical part of actually handling a small boat. (Which I learned on a Canadian lake in my youth). I’ve never been formally certified, however.

  3. John Barleycorn

    “I wondered what young people saw in the green shag carpet on the ceiling.”

    Says the guy who needs to dust the braided gold tassels hanging from his window valence.

    P.S.  “And I do strictly charge and require all officers, seamen, tadpoles and goldfish under your command to be obedient to your orders as Admiral—and you are to observe and follow, from time to time, such directions you shall receive, according to the rules and discipline of the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska.”

    Judge what have you done?! I sure as hell hope you got a check out of him for the orphanage before he had a chance to pick out a frame.

      1. John Barleycorn

        Good point, seeing as how your goldfish and tadpoles will have to jump like sandhill cranes when you poke, kick, and hiss at them now. I must admit I am a little bit jealous.

        You best get them on that dusting project before Nebraska formerly declares war on Colorado and the Governor starts looking for a Platte River Fleet Admiral.

  4. Carol

    Congratulations Admiral! I truly enjoyed reading this post- ? Humbled because we still have the avocado green stove!

  5. Richard G. Kopf

    Admiral SHG,

    You are being far too modest. Such modesty causes you to miss a real opportunity.

    As you know, the President of Gambia was awarded the great prize too. That made big news in important foreign policy circles. See Joshua Keating, Gambian president claims admiralship in ‘Nebraska Navy’, Foreign (September 29, 2010).

    You should consider taking over a small but resource-rich African country using the methane-fueled power of the Nebraska Navy. How neat would it be to bear the title, “Your Excellency and Admiral of All the Navies that Matter, SHG.”

    All the best.


    1. SHG Post author

      When the New York City Council passed an ordinance entitling everyone to select their title and personal pronouns, and requiring it be honored upon pain of sanction, I selected “Your Grace.”

      Inexplicably, no one calls me that. Maybe I would do better with “Your Excellency and Admiral of All the Navies that Matter, SHG.” Maybe it will gain more traction.

  6. Franklin Michaels

    Thought it was the captain who went down with the ship, while the admiral took off in his barge.

  7. Pingback: Sentencing: Perception v. Reality

Comments are closed.