Sixty Five (65)

I wish to register a complaint. I have now reached the age when my employer is supposed to hand me a gold watch and a fat pension, and then I retire to my rustic cabin on the scenic lake with my beautiful wife, and then I spend my golden years fishing and dandling grandchildren on my knee. I got the beautiful wife, but the rest of it ain’t happening. What went wrong?

For that matter, this whole dang timeline stinks. Wars and pandemics? No sirree, that weren’t on the retirement pamphlet. I’ve been sold a bill of goods here, and I want my money back.

I’m going to keep on doing the same things over and over again, until I get a refund or a complete timeline reset and I get my goldang idyllic, peaceful retirement. How’s them apples?

I might just keep on writin’ like a crotchety ol’ geezer rockin’ on the porch, occasionally hawkin’ up a wad into the spittoon. That’ll teach ya. Remind me to pick up a spittoon next time I take the buckboard into town.


  1. says

    For that matter, this whole dang timeline stinks. Wars and pandemics?

    And murder hornets. Don’t forget the murder hornets.
    What I think is happening is someone keeps going back in time to fix one thing and not only do they fail, they end up causing the next disaster. Probably started with trying to save Kobe Bryant. That turned Covid into a pandemic, and when they tried to fix that…aw, shit, now the western US is on fire. Leave it alone, already.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    You now need an infusion of bowhead whale DNA so you can last 200 years.
    (The evolutionary background to that life span is itself fascinating)
    You have one benefit. There has been at least 10 000 generations of anatomically modern humans. Born 1957, you have witnessed more change than any other generation (although the Black woman born as a slave who got to witness one of the Apollo launches may be one up on you).
    Suggestion; as the $ is strong, you two may spend your retirement in Scandinavia, Germany, Canada or some other place where fascists are still not seen as acceptable leaders.
    They even have single-payer health insurance, imagine that.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    feralboy 12 @ 2
    In William Gibson’s Peripheral and Agency, we have future hackers using internet and some time machine to create parallell time lines where they mess up pre-collapse society.
    (As the collapse was a great opportunity for “disaster capitalism” this period is referred to as the “The jackpot” by future oligarchs.

  4. René says

    First. I’d wish you a HAPPIER birthday than this one.

    Second. I think Dutch law stipulates you’re entitled to your pension in your 65th year: “In uw 65ste levensjaar.” It may be apocryphal, but somebody claimed his pension the day after his 64th birtday, since it was then that his 65th year started. The judge did not agree.

  5. PaulBC says

    I have now reached the age when my employer is supposed to hand me a gold watch and a fat pension

    I thought in your field you were supposed to get “emeritus” added to your title and a vacant office that you visit perhaps twice a year to the hushed whispers of active department members asking each other who that old codger is.

  6. Louis says

    1) Happy Birthday PZ! I hope you have an excellent one.

    2) When are you planning to retire? Here in the UK/Brexitannia (spit) people of my relatively youthful age are having to retire at 67, and you know they’re going to extend that before we get there.

    3) There is always the “sceptic/atheist special retirement plan”: convert to a religion/some species of woo and cash in big style. I’ve read creationism is making a comeback…


  7. billringo says

    Happy Birthday. Turns out 65 is a Big New Deal for us commie socialist atheists. Once Medicare reared it’s amazing head I got a new heart valve, a couple hips and ditto eye lenses for a combined cost of a few grand. Get something fixed!
    Power to ya.

  8. antaresrichard says

    Happy Birthday, PZ! And among cephalopods and arachnids there was much rejoicing!


  9. says

    Dear Prof. Myers,
    Congratulations! So many of us truly appreciate not only your academic contributions, but, your contributions of ethical, rational and caring thinking and writings. They are sorely needed in this deteriornation ™. I wish you many more happy and productive years.

  10. PaulBC says

    billringo@9 I’d be more excited, but I don’t think Medicare covers a robot exoskeleton and a head-mounted laser.

  11. kestrel says

    Happy birthday! I’m imagining a buckboard pulled by an 8,000 hitch spider team. It must be challenging to get them all harnessed in one day. I bet they go fast, though!

  12. KG says

    Happy birthday. I just realised you’re exactly 1 day older than my younger brother.

  13. R. L. Foster says

    Happy birthday, PZ, have a nice meal with your wife and then forget about it.

    When I reached that milestone my wife asked, So, what are you going to do with the rest of your life? She said it in a way that sounded as if I had another 60 years to go. I told her that if I looked and felt the way I had at 30 I’d be raring to start over, try something new and fresh, but I don’t want to be a struldbrugg. Though, when I look in the mirror, that’s what I see peering back at me.

  14. PaulBC says

    If I retire early, it will mostly be to end the dog and pony show of annual review. On the whole I enjoy my work. Conversely, if I keep working longer than I really want to, it will probably be for the health insurance. It’s a tough call.

  15. robro says

    Happy birthday, PZ.

    Every crotchety ol’ geezer needs a spittoon. Where do you buy those? I’m a lot older than you, PZ, so I’ve got some spittin’ to do.

    PaulBC @#20 — “If I keep working…it will probably be for the health insurance.” Exactly why I’m working. Not for me…I’ve been on Medicare…but my wife, who’s a few years away, and our son.

  16. Tethys says

    Happy Birthday! Though the world is getting far too interesting lately, at least the weather is sunny and it didn’t snow again.

  17. Roberto Aguirre Maturana says

    Congratulations PZ! I still remember that somber comment of you about your concerns for being 57 years old, considering your family history. Now look at you at 65, here in Chile that’s the legal age of retirement. I wish you the best, and of course I thank you for being a true humanist atheist. Keep the good work and have a happy day!

  18. Jazzlet says

    Happy Birthday PZ, I hope you can enjoy the company of your eight-legged friends as well as spending some time with Mary.

  19. christoph says

    Happy birthday! Six words you need to know at our age: “Damn kids, get off my lawn!”

  20. hillaryrettig1 says

    Happy birthday PZ! Seems like just yesterday we were all in the egg sac!

  21. nomdeplume says

    Happy birthday young fellow – just wait till you hit 75 before complaing about old age, mate.

  22. birgerjohansson says

    James Lovelock of Gaia fame is 102, so you may have a lot of mileage left.
    And having reached the age when you have the option to retire you do not have to suck up to administrators.

  23. outis says

    Happy birthday Professor!
    And for a while try to forget all the weird, unpleasant stuff going on. At the very least, spring is not far away…

  24. PaulBC says


    Improving soil.

    I was gonna save that for after I’m dead.

  25. moarscienceplz says

    ” I spend my golden years fishing and dandling grandchildren on my knee. I got the beautiful wife, but the rest of it ain’t happening.”
    Well, you aint got grandsprogs within dandling distance ’cause you live in a place where the mosquitos are as big as the grandsprogs! I view it as an act of genetic self-preservation that your younguns all moved away from Morris.

  26. littlelocomotive says

    Two things I was told about retirement:
    1. Retiring is like having children. If you wait until you can afford it, you’ll never do it.
    2. The good thing about retirement is that you discover how little money you can live on. The bad thing is that’s how much you have.

  27. blf says

    I read “Remind me to pick up a spittoon next time I take the buckboard into town” as “Remind me to pick up a spittoon next time I take the surfboard into town”, which conjured up an image of a Charles Darwin-like gent with flowing beard, wearing a cornavirus mask and not much else, surfing alongside the snowy hills and at high speed down the icy slopes, only to do a quite impressive faceplant as he arrived on the snow-swept main street with a cartoonish fall Wile E Coyote would be quite proud of.

    Then I read it again and had to look up what a “buckboard” is…

    The mildly deranged penguin detected no wobbles in the Earth’s orbit as poopyhead starts another, albeit since she carefully turned-off the instrument before taking the reading, this might not be as good of an omen as it sounds. However, when she later turned the instrument back on, there were several of the distinctive microwobbles caused by a certain falling Coyote in the vicinity of Morris — has poopyhead been out surfing the frozen sea? Or just falling off the buckboard, presumably, in proper Coyote-style, with the new spittoon then landing on his head, just before he’s run over by the now-driverless buckboard, whose cranky horse then sits on him?

  28. llyris says

    Happy birthday!
    I parsed that as ‘by a scenic lake, with my beautiful wife, spending my golden years flashing’. Which frankly sounds more fun than fishing anyway.

  29. Larry says


    Good news and bad news for many of today’s retirees. The good news is that they only need to learn 3 words instead of your 6. The bad news is that those words too often turn out to be “Welcome to Wal-mart”.

  30. says

    My congratulations and condolences. At least your career is one you can quit when you want, not forced out or unable.

    The worst part about ageing has to be the body starts doing things you don’t want. Even if you’re healthy, active, fit and disease free, it still happens.

  31. David Richardson says

    Happy Birthday!

    What I got was a gold medal for ‘Zeal and Probity in the Service of the Swedish State’. It’s real too, so I could sell it for the value of the gold, if I ever needed to.

  32. PaulBC says

    @49 “Zeal and Probity”: a winning combination. (At least zeal without probity is scary, even in the service of the Swedish State.)

  33. rrutis1 says

    Happy Birthday, PZ! The only gift I have to offer is my eternal gratitude for helping keep me on the learning path!