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Old guys should think before they speak.

The other day I was talking to an older gentleman who thought because I owned a web design company, I could solve all his email problems.

That happens.  People figure because you have a nerd job that you’re jacked into some secret nerd database of knowledge. Because I can build a web site, logically, I can also wire a home for surround sound, program a TV controller and recite the name of every alien in the Star Wars Tatooine bar scene.

I get it. I make sweeping assumptions, too.  I assume every Eric Roberts movie will suck, forgetting that if you make 1000 movies a year one of them will probably be halfway decent.  He is, after all, a top-notch professional prick.

And in all fairness, I guess I did just admit to knowing the Star Wars bar scene took place on a planet called Tatooine, which is pretty nerdy.

Anyway, just as I forgave the old guy for wasting my time, he said, “Well, let me work on this for a bit…” expecting me to hang on the phone while he rebooted and clicked random buttons and muttered just enough nonsense for me to know nothing he did would have any effect.

He never asked if I was busy. He ignored all my attempts to explain to him that I don’t even use Outlook, because it sucks donkey dick, and could not possibly help him.

I was just about to start slamming the phone on the desk when he said:  “Well, I guess I should stop crying like a girl.”

To me.


I think that was his way of apologizing for being annoying.

Speechless, I grunted goodbye, hung up, and then raged at my poor husband about the self-centered old prick I’d just talked to on the phone, the part of whom,  in the movie of my life, would be played by Eric Roberts.

Later at the doctor’s office, I watched another charming old gent demand at top volume that a receptionist provide him with the exact time he would be called for his turn. In the waiting room, which had been silent as a crypt, he continued his tirade by berating his wife for not bringing him earlier, “like he told her to,” pausing only to scream “you know you got a big zit coming in on your chin, right?”

The other people in the waiting room tried to hide their embarrassed giggles behind month-old magazines. The old guy’s wife tried to melt into her chair. When she whispered that she was aware of the pimple and suggested he be more quiet, he barked, “You got another on your forehead, too.”


I imagine right now that man is sleeping, and his wife is standing over him. Just staring at him, her face twitching as she considers bludgeoning him to death with a family-sized tube of Clearasil.

Old guys, we love you. You’re our fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers. But in the name of Wilford Brimley, take a moment to think about the people around you before you open your mouths. I know for much of your life it felt like the world revolved around you, but there are other people on the planet. Women aren’t here just to bring you dinner and bear your children. Even the wife you think IS here for that, has thoughts independent of your needs. Someday you might need her to flip you so you don’t get bed sores. You might want to be a little nicer to her if you don’t want lime jello eight months in a row.

Next time you want to bark something hurtful or stupid, shut up, and eat your damn oatmeal.

Amy Vansant

Amy Vansant

Amy Vansant is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author specializing in fun, funny fiction --- even the murder mysteries.
Amy Vansant

27 Responses

  1. Karen

    True story: in a bookshop, an old dude was loudly demanding one of the Chicken Soup books, which his wife had apparently sent him to retrieve for her. (She probably sends him on 25 errands a day, just to get him out of her hair.)

    “It’s a stupid book,” Dude announces to the store. (So far, no argument, but whatever.) “I know it’s a stupid book because she’s a stupid person, and she only reads stupid books.” Everyone looks around to see who this yahoo is, and what he’s doing in the quiet, small bookstore.

    “She’s really an idiot,” he continues. “I don’t even know how we’ve stayed married so long.”

    And here, I lose it. “You know,” I say, loudly enough for everyone in the store to have no doubt that I’m speaking to Old Dude, “I’m sure she speaks very highly of you, too. You might want to think about that.”


    All of which is to say, yes. People of all ages and genders should probably think before opening their mouths.
    Karen recently posted..Empty nest: Back to school, redux


  2. Angry Turk

    Now, Amy Vansant, you are truly speaking my language, and on behalf of angry pricks (young and old alike) everywhere, you have spoken to my heart! You don’t get the nick name “Angry Turk” by sugar-coating your tirades…and, yes, your advice is excellent, buy will be ignored by angry, patronizing men everywhere.


  3. Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd

    Tom and I were at an ATM waiting behind a lady who admittedly was taking awhile, but sometimes it just takes some time. An older man was waiting in his parked car, with the window down and yells, “Anytime today anytime today” at her. Tom and I now yell this at each other frequently but seriously what an asshole.
    Carrie – Cannibalistic Nerd recently posted..The Least Magic Magic Trick Ever
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  4. bill major

    oh no not Mchale !! eric roberts lmao he plays in the worst films now since “pope of greenwich village”hahahaha


  5. Nicole

    I don’t know… I feel like if you’ve endured 80 years on this planet, dealing with all kinds of assholes for that long, you deserve the right to say whatever you want. Especially the old ladies… they’ve been repressed for so long. Once they are old and widowed, it’s like they break free. Let them pat the pizza boy’s hiney once in a while, eh? How many more thrills are they going to have?
    Nicole recently posted..cura personalis*
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  6. Alison

    My grandpa’s idea of a compliment for me is “Hey, you’re not doing too bad… for a girl”.

    I think when people get old they just lose the filter that tells them what might be appropriate to say… either that or they are just so old the don’t care anymore!


  7. Happy Little Feet

    So funny! My sister had her father in law tell her she need to put more energy into her appearance it was 6:00 am and she had the flu she was up making him breakfast.
    Happy Little Feet recently posted..Rhubarb Relish


  8. DJ Murphy

    Best be careful, sweety! Us old guys are now living forever and will soon, if we haven’t already, outnumber you. I do what I want, don’t pay attention to TV ads. Don’t need a soft cuddly bear (TV ad – bear obviously doing his business [how’s that for a euphemism]) telling me what kind of toilet paper will feel great on my tush. Just for fun I drive in the exits and out the enter lanes whenever possible. Just getting warmed up but also just playing. Try looking on the bright side for a while. Sometimes an antidepressant helps. 😉
    DJ Murphy recently posted..Requiem for the Puppet Master – Kindle Version


    • Amy Vansant

      Oh don’t get me wrong. I’m almost there myself. I’d like to think I’ll be nicer, but I dunno… but when I misbehave, I’ll be able to point at this post and say: “You must have misunderstood my intent, see? I wrote this!” 🙂
      Amy Vansant recently posted..Zombie Breath: A Love Story


  9. Lady Quixote

    Hahaha! I love this. I’m married to one of those grumpy old men… although he isn’t grumpy like that anymore, because *I* (sort of) cured him!

    We met 10 years ago at work, both of us divorced, both of us – ahem – older. He was so sweet! Until the day after I married him, that is. Then, he started YELLING at me over every little thing that he didn’t like, agree with, or understand. (“WHAT ARE YOU DOING, SINGING ALONG WITH THE BEATLES OLDIES? DON’T YOU KNOW THEY WERE COMMUNIST ATHIEST DRUG USERS!” ~like that.)

    So, I immediately left, and discussed with my uncle, the retired minister who had married us, how to go about getting an annulment. Meanwhile, the bait-and-switch yeller I had just married calls my cell phone and yells, “THE BIBLE SAYS A WIFE IS SUPPOSED TO SUBMIT TO HER HUSBAND!”

    To which I replied, in a normal voice, mind you: “Yes, and in that same book of the Bible, a husband is commanded to love his wife enough to die for her. SO, Mister, if you aren’t dying, I am not submitting. End Of Discussion.”

    The old goat didn’t even know what to say to that! So then he got really desperate and did what his doctors had been advising him to do for at least 30 years, and which he had ignored through all of his other divorces – he went and checked himself into an in-house Veterans Program for treatment of his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You see, my husband, like a significant percentage of the men of his generation, is a Vietnam combat veteran.

    Today, 9 years later, I call the him my best-friend-husband. He NEVER yells, NEVER demands, and *almost never* acts like an asshole, to anybody, for any reason. On the very rare occasion when he starts to get a little out of line, all I have to do is quietly say, “You’re being inappropriate,” and he straightens right up and… apologizes! I swear I am not making this up. It’s like a miracle!

    My BFH says he is now the man he believes he would have been all along if he hadn’t been through the hell of a very unpopular, losing war. Amazing, huh? Today I consider myself very lucky to be his wife!

    My guy is 6’3”, 290 lbs, a leather-wearing Patriot Guard Rider, and a proud “Once A Marine, Always A Marine.” He is also a grandpa and a soon-to-be great-grandpa, and, underneath it all, he is a big fluffy teddy bear. Children and animals love him on sight. He’s like a cross between Captain Kangaroo and Dr. Doolittle. Also, he is FUNNY! I mean it, every day he makes me laugh. I am intensely proud of him and I love him madly. But, not enough to ever let him yell at me, because, you see: I also love me!

    Lady Quixote

    PS. Wow, I like what I just wrote here about my sweetheart. I think I’ll make this into a post on my blog, with a link back to your great post, if you don’t mind. Thanks for the inspiration! XOXO
    Lady Quixote recently posted..Eleven Years Ago: 9-11
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  10. Brian

    As an aging guy who’s married to an all ready ‘aged’ guy, I have to laugh at this because of it’s candor, and also have to say on a daily basis I roll my eyes at the things that come out of both of our mouths I swear I won’t try to justify most of them because there really isn’t anyway to apologize after someone’s crossed the lines of misogyny, I do have to point out that these moments are not reserved solely for women, it seems some people got left behind during the evolutionary process. But if I had a nickel for anytime any younger person hinted or blatantly stated that I would be more suited for someone ‘more my age or speed <what does THAT mean?', I kindly point out that even though I cringe on a regular basis at some of the things I have to commonly apologize for, it's out of sheer ignorance and not a blatant attack. These moments will never be comfortable to me, but John has many truly wonderful aspects of his personality that often make me decide to not wander out in the world always wary of what he will say next, or who he will offend; Most often times accidentally. I'm laughing as I type this because it's almost time to go out for coffee, and I'm rather thankful for the lady who always waits patiently on us, and is quick to point out whenever John puts his foot in his mouth directly to him or later to me. He was recently away from his regular coffee joint for health reasons, and she called me over to say she was 'worried because she hadn't seen him, and she missed his uncanny ability to astound her with his ability to sound like a troglodyte'. She sounded genuinely concerned, and I've no doubt there's a place in the world for him, even though I regularly threaten him with the prospects of 'Yellow Jello for Eternity'. Great writing, I look forward to more.



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