That Gay, Grey Gang



How to be a difficult old man in spite of your age

That Gay, Grey Gang es una historia que apareció en la revista Esquire, en la edición de mayo de 1954. La historia es corta, pero efectiva. Un hombre cuenta su idea sobre los años, la gente mayor. Señala que puede excusarse de hacer muchas cosas de la casa con la idea de que es demasiado viejo, está enfermo o no escucha bien. Con mucho humor el cuento, That Gay, Grey Gang (en inglés), de Grady Johnson, se desarrolla en pocas páginas. Al final algo sobre josh…

In the space of ten seconds the other afternoon I became an old man. This unforeseen incredible event occurred, fortunately, in the presence of an understanding older person who assures me that it´s not bad at all. In fact, to hear him tell it, I should have got old years ago.
I was downtown and I had just bumped into my grey-haired neighbor, Mr. Calhoun, and he had asked me to carry some packages for him, when several pretty college girls, capering through a sorority initiation, approached us. From long habit I squared my shoulders and tried to catch their laughing eyes, but instead of receiving any pulse-quickening glances I heard one of them say, “Hiya, grandpa.” Sure that she was addressing Mr. Calhoun. I turned to josh him and saw that he had been standing out of their sight looking in the window of a sporting-goods store.

“Now you´re one of us,” he said softly, giving me a sympathetic smile.
Esquire magazine, May 1954
Esquire magazine, May 1954
Since he´s twenty years older than I am, I didn´t care for the remark.
“A man´s as young as he feels,” I said, pulling in my stomach.
“That´s right,” Mr. Calhoun said, “But never use that expression again or you´ll spoil a good thing.” His voice, suddenly unlike him, sounded young and vibrant. “There are certain advantages in growing old that you must learn to value. If you are ready to accept age – if you promise not to fight it with pills, sports coats, loud ties, open-throat shirts and plaid socks – I am authorized by SOPWATO to show you how to make hay in the harvest years.”
“Sop what-o?” I said, puzzled.
“Society of People Who Admit They´re Old,” he said, businesslike.
“My own idea. Ever notice my stoop?” he turned sideways. “Comfortable and relaxing. Since I started with it nobody has ever invited me to swim across a lake, break a leg skiing, hike eighty-five miles to shoot a deer or stand all day up to my hips in cold water for ducks.”
Suspecting that age had made him eccentric, I tried to humor him. “I can see that this would leave you more time for your work.” I said brightly.
“Get with it, man!” he said, eying a spinner reel in the sporting goods-store window. “Ten years ago the children nagged me to apply for a light job. The employment manager took one look at me and hired an older man with his chest out.”… (Story by Grady Johnson, from Esquire Magazine, May, 1954)

En el mismo número
Sex in Hollywood…Today it has almost the status of a game by Ben Hecht
Wearables: Vittorio de Sica… Well-dressed film director. Photography by Wendy Hilty
Vacation now: where to go and where to stay in Canada: East and West
Para saber
Josh: to tease someone in a bantering way (ridiculizar a alguien en forma humorística). Origen: 1845, American English, probablemente de la versión familiar del nombre Joshua. La palabra estaba en uso antes que la carrera del humorista norteamericano Josh Bilings, que no empezó a escribir y a actuar hasta antes de 1860 y cuya popularidad puede haber influenciado en el uso de la palabra.
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Y para leer sobre otra revista antigua: Sports Afield, donde se aclara qué es six shooter o gunslinger