I remember an old episode of Star Trek -- the old series before Captain Kirk got all red-faced and perspirey and started selling Priceline.Com. In this episode, something went wrong in the transporter room and Kirk and Spock got trapped between the Enterprise and the planet surface, swirling around like blobs of static.
That's how I feel with less than a month to go before my "retirement." I've grown to hate the word "retirement" and yet I can't stop saying it over and over. Bringing it into every conversation.
"No, Officer. I'm afraid I don't know how fast I was going back there. But I am retiring at the end of the month."
BUTLER: "You realize that "perspirey" is not really a word."
Report me to Webster's. I'm too busy trying to figure out who I am.
BAGMAN: "Come on, Bro! You know who you are! Once we're retired, we can lock up Butler for a change!"
Yeah yeah. Sure. Whatever you want. But you see, one of gems of wisdom that spout fountainlike from my mouth has always been: "What you do is not who you are."
BUTLER: "Ahhh. The ancient existential fountain of personal awareness."
BAGMAN: "I don't even know what that means! I just like getting all perspirey."
These days I just float around like a ghost or a lost transporter beam. And everybody that I talk to...
BUTLER: "How can you talk if you are a beam of light?"
I don't know. I guess I make a hissing or buzzing sound. But everybody I meet says one of two things. If they are retired, they tell me how much I'm going to love it. If they are not yet retired, they tell me how envious they are. I mean, like it's some big huge thing like getting married or going to Disneyland. I don't even want to talk about it!"
BUTLER: "And yet you bring it into every conversation."
I pause to think about that.
BAGMAN: "Yeah!! Like this one!!"
I realize that I have paused but am not actually thinking.
From somewhere, far away, Scotty's voice calls down, "Hang in there, Captain! I'll have you out of this in a minute!" The word 'this' sounds more like 'thish' and I can't tell if it's a Scottish accent or Sean Connery. But I look down and part of my sparkly column near the bottom is trying to form a foot.
BUTLER: "But thinking about not actually thinking is actually thinking."
BAGMAN: "Hey! There are reruns of Star Trek tonight at 2:00 a.m.!! We can make popcorn!!"