The Prairie Spy

Alan “Lindy” Linda

In the process of apprenticing my way toward geezerdom, I got up early Saturday morning and found my way into town to the GossipBox Café.

The GossipBox Café is where made geezers hang out, much the same way that the Mafia hung out in Italian restaurants and bars. I want to be a made geezer someday. You want to be one of them, you got to hang out with them, find out what makes them tick.

Otherwise, you end up the right age to be a made geezer, but you don’t know nothing about doing it, and there isn’t anyone more despised and looked down upon in the GossipBox Café on Saturday morning than someone old enough to be one of them, but still doesn’t know quite how to go about it.

You might wonder how I know who the made geezers are, but that’s easy. I’ve hung out there enough to know which table is theirs, and which end of it apprentice geezers are allowed to touch. Geezers have a solidly entrenched hierarchy, a pecking order, if you will, and you gotta watch it. You upset them once, it’s the kiss of death, and then it’s back to the table where old truck drivers and carpenters are sitting, and some farmers, on rainy days. You don’t learn nothing at that table about being a geezer, because for various reasons, these guys can’t make it to the big table.

There are lots of those reasons, and one of them is, you made too much money, and are probably driving a new truck, maybe got a new coat on, new Carhart coveralls. Geezers, the made ones, anyway, maybe made some loot along the way, but the unwritten honor code says if you spend it, you have to spend it in ways that no one can tell. Truck drivers like the one sitting just spitting distance from the end of the geezer table where I was, always drive nice four-wheel-drive pickup trucks. They don’t know no better. Always stay one body style behind, you want to be made.

I’ve been hanging around as an apprentice geezer long enough to jump right into the conversation going on, which was centered around an elders’ home not too far away that had just been sold.

“Jeez,” said one geezer, “did you see this article?” With that, he reached into a patched pair of coveralls and pulled out an article that had run the week before in The Boatville Blizzard.  The Blizzard is the local newspaper that got its nickname when a new guy back in the room where the printing was going on forgot to fasten the canvas sides of the truck that was delivering newsprint for the next several weeks.

The wind got into the canvas sides of that trailer like it was a three-masted schooner in a hurricane, and it snowed paper in downtown Boatville for the next twenty minutes. Everyone thought winter had come early, but realized that, even this far north, snow in August wasn’t a fair fight, hardly, and then they saw that it was paper.

Talk moved around the geezer table then, centered around what was wrong with elders’ homes, what was wrong with this one, and why it was sold—which, one made geezer theorized, was because the MayCare Hospital had put its own pharmacy right in the waiting room, and no one had any money left due to the high price of drugs.

Drug talk is one of the reasons that apprentices such as myself have to hang around real geezers for a while. The last contact I had with drugs was back in the sixties, when we used words like “groovy” and “wow.” In some ways, it’s still the same. One of the ways it’s the same is that drugs back then were expensive, and they still are today. We used to wonder where the next drugs would be scored from, as in purchased.

“I hear you can score some cheap water pills from a place in Winnipeg,” said Deaf Yurho, who was the second-ranking made geezer at the table. Everyone perked right up. I privately thought to myself, maybe I should chip in with the statement: “I hope it’s some righteous stuff, and some dealer hasn’t stepped on it with parsley or ditch weed.” But I reconsidered. Good geezer apprentices are seen, not heard.

I did say, however: “You know what you’re doing wrong, don’t you?” I said this toward the table in general.

They all perked right up. Answers. All right!

I said: “If you old farts don’t start living in elders’ homes, they’re all gonna close, and where’m I going to stay when I’m a geezer.?

Now I’m sitting with the geezer-wannabe truck driver. And two carpenters.

I’ll have to work my way back up pretty quick. I’m not getting any younger.